Runway flood (copy)

The flooded runway and southern portion of Offutt Air Force Base is seen in this March photo.

WASHINGTON — Nebraska military installations would see additional funding under legislation advanced Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

That panel assembles and approves its annual defense policy bill behind closed doors, but Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said in a Thursday press release that this year’s $750 billion legislation includes pots of money to benefit Nebraska facilities.

According to Fischer, the bill includes authorizations for:

  • $340 million for the Air Force to recover from natural disasters at facilities such as Offutt Air Force Base, which was swamped by this year’s flooding.
  • $7.2 million for the Army National Guard to help clean up and rebuild the Nebraska National Guard’s Camp Ashland training site, which also flooded.
  • $247 million to help the Air Force plan the Offutt rebuilding effort.
  • $29 million for construction of a Nebraska National Guard Bellevue Readiness Center.

Fischer said she also was able to include language raising the cap on military construction projects that can start without direct congressional appropriation. That will provide flexibility to accelerate the recovery process, she said.

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The legislation also authorizes funding aimed at supporting the 55th Wing and the RC-135 surveillance planes based at Offutt.

That money would:

  • Upgrade the capabilities of the RC-135s.
  • Continue the Air Force’s conversion of several tankers into planes used to detect nuclear detonations.
  • Replace planes flying missions under the Open Skies treaty, which allows the countries involved to conduct reconnaissance flights over one another’s territory.

Fischer also touted the bill’s 3.1% pay raise for those in uniform.

The legislation still must be approved by the full Senate and House before heading to the president’s desk.

Reporter - Politics/Washington D.C.

Joseph Morton is The World-Herald Washington Bureau Chief. Morton joined The World-Herald in 1999 and has been reporting from Washington for the newspaper since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @MortonOWH.

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