Lawmakers optimistic about Cannon funding

Freedom Newspapers

WASHINGTON — New Mexico’s Congressional delegates are optimistic about the $9.2 million in military construction funding for Cannon Air Force Base included in the Bush administration’s budget proposal.

The budget plan for the Department of Defense recommends two separate military construction projects for Cannon:

• $7.5 million for an MC-130 Flight Simulator facility

• $1.7 million to renovate the existing Hangar 109 to accommodate C-130 aircraft.

Both projects would support the new Air Force Special Operations Command mission at the base.

“These budget requests are very welcomed and confirmation that the Pentagon is moving forward with Cannon’s transition,” said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who serves on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “Our job now will be to see that this funding translates into actual funding in FY2008 to advance the Special Ops mission at Cannon.”

Initial design work on the hangar renovation and simulator project is already under way. As an AFSOC base, Cannon will be home to various versions of the C-130, starting with MC-130 variants.

Domenici, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said they would confer with U.S. Air Force, Cannon and local officials to determine whether additional FY2008 military construction projects are warranted to support the incoming 16th Special Operations Wing mission.