VIDEO: Udall Urges Support for White Sands Missile Range at Appropriations Hearing on FY2019 Funding for the U.S. Army
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall highlighted the critical role that White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) plays in national security during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Udall pressed Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper for resources and funding for additional projects at WSMR and to consider WSMR as a basing location for a Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB).
“White Sands Missile Range is the largest overland military installation in the country - larger than the state of Rhode Island. While it is primarily an Army post, it also provides support for all the military branches. Yet it is currently an Army post with a relatively non-existent Army presence -- because the Engineering Battalion that previously made it home...left the base. They left behind empty barracks and other facilities,” Udall said during the hearing.
In response to Udall’s call for an update on the Army’s request to consider WSMR as a basing location for a new brigade, Secretary Esper said that WSMR is under consideration and the Army is likely to announce its basing decisions this summer.
In addition, Udall asked about WSMR’s near term outlook given the recent funding increase Congress provided for the Department of Defense for Fiscal Year 2018 and has enabled for 2019. Secretary Esper replied that WSMR is expected to benefit from increased testing activity due to an increased emphasis on research and development in the overall budget. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley noted that WSMR can accommodate any overland testing requirement, affirming its status as a truly unique testing asset for national security purposes.
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