A bill that has now won approval in the House Armed Services Committee will provide up to $54 million for the construction of a new command center that will be designed especially for the U.S. Northern Command’s special operations troops.
That facility will be built at the Peterson Air Force Base, which was originally established during World War II and is located in Colorado Springs.
Set up to provide command and control of homeland defense operations within the Department of Defense, the U.S. Northern Command was launched nearly 17 years ago.
The $54 million for the new high-tech center is just a part of a significantly larger overall $750 billion budget passed by the committee as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020.
Among the other Colorado-based appropriations approved by the committee is $49 million for the construction of a new dormitory at the Air Force Academy’s preparatory school just to the north of Colorado Springs.
Popularly known as the “Prep School,” it was established in the spring of 1961 and has a current enrollment of more than 200 cadets.
One of the largest appropriations approved by the House Committee is the $71 million for Fort Carson, which is located some 7 miles southeast of Colorado Springs.
Last year it was announced that Fort Carson had been selected by the U.S. Army to activate a new security force assistance brigade designed to conduct, advise, and assist operations with allied nation forces.
The creation of that brigade also meant a projected growth of around eight hundred soldiers and their families at the base.
The $71 million will go for the construction of new residence facilities to accommodate that population growth.
Before passage of the bill, Adam Smith, a member from Washington State and chairman of House Armed Services Committee, remarked: “By a reasonably comfortable margin, this is the largest budget we will have ever passed in Congress” for defense.
The measure will now go to the full House, with work on a compromise draft between leaders in that chamber and the Senate expected to be ongoing until early this fall.
By Garry Boulard
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