Menendez, Booker, NJ Delegation Make Case to Air Force on Behalf of JBMDL

Menendez, Booker, NJ Delegation Make Case to Air Force on Behalf of JBMDL

JBMDL ‘Ideal Location’ for Next Gen KC-46 Air Refueling Mission

 
NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.), the entire N.J. Congressional delegation and other members of Congress from the region made the case this week to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) that Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) is best positioned to host the next generation of air refueling tankers, the KC-46A. JBMDL is among the final five bases being considered by the Air Force.

“We strongly support the selection of JBMDL for this mission and believe that it represents the clear and cost-effective choice for the Air Force.  JBMDL's strategic location, strong track record in tanker and airlift operations, existing infrastructure, and fuel capacity provide the most efficient and most effective location to station thirty-six KC-46s,” the lawmakers said in a bipartisan letter to both USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James and General David Goldfein, the Chief of Staff.

Joining Sens. Menendez and Booker on the letter were Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.-04), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.-06), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.-02), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.-11), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.-09), Scott Garrett (R-N.J.05), Albio Sires (D-N.J.-08), Leonard Lance (R-N.J.-07), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-N.J.-10), Donald Norcoss (D-N.J.-01), Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.03) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12).  Also joining the effort are Reps. Peter King and Kathleen Rice (both R-N.Y.) and Mike Fitzpatrick and Ryan Costello (both R-Pa.) who each represent reservists stationed at JBMDL.

The members of Congress pointed specifically to JBMDL’s strategic location, existing assets and facilities, and ability to seamlessly and most cost-effectively transition from its current mission for making the nation’s only tri-service joint installation the prime candidate to host the KC46As.

The Air Force is moving forward with a replacement plan for its aging fleet of air refueling tankers, and notified Congress last month that JBMDL is among the remaining five finalists for the next basing round for the KC-46A. The air refueling mission of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command is a core mission at JBMDL and is home to the 305th Air Mobility Wing (Active Component) and 514th Air Mobility (Reserve Component).  These two units currently fly the KC-10 Extender.  The New Jersey Air National Guard’s 108th Air Wing flies the KC-135 air refueling tanker.

“We believe that as you continue this basing process, your review will determine that JBMDL’s strategic location and existing assets and facilities make it the ideal location for the Air Force to station thirty-six KC-46s,” the letter stated.

JBMDL is competing with the following bases for the next Main Operating Base 4 (MOB 4) for the KC-46A: Dover AFB, Dover, Del.; Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Wash.; Grand Forks AFB, Grand Forks, N.D.; and Travis AFB, Fairfield, Calif.

Full text of letter is below:

July 19, 2016

 

The Honorable Deborah Lee James                           General David Goldfein

Secretary                                                        Chief of Staff

United States Air Force                                    United States Air Force

HQ USAF                                                       HQ USAF

1670 Air Force Pentagon                                 1670 Air Force Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20330-1670                         Washington, D.C. 20330-1670

Secretary James and General Goldfein:

 

We are writing to express our strong support for the designation of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) as the Air Force’s Main Operating Base 4 (MOB4). We believe that as you continue this basing process, your review will determine that JBMDL’s strategic location and existing assets and facilities make it the ideal location for the Air Force to station thirty-six KC-46s.

JBMDL is the nation's only tri-service joint installation, host to active duty, Reserve and National Guard units and home to over 80 mission partners that assist in global mobility, aerial refueling, aerial port operations, technical training, contingency response and installation support. The 305th Air Mobility Wing, and their classic association partner the 514th Air Mobility Wing, stand ready and able to quickly and efficiently execute the mission of MOB4. 

JBMDL's existing assets and facilities will provide unparalleled capabilities as the Air Force's MOB4 and can seamlessly absorb this mission with limited investment of Air Force dollars. We respectfully request that you take into account the following factors as you make your decision on which installation will receive the next round of KC-46s:

Strategic Location and Mission: The geographical location of JBMDL and its role as Air Mobility Command's premier East Coast hub uniquely positions it to perform both its tanker and strategic airlift missions. As the Air Refueling Receiver Demand Model demonstrates, the demand signal is higher in the North East region than anywhere else in the country. JBMDL is the key player in Air-Bridge operations to refuel fighter, cargo and transport missions across the Atlantic to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia. An example of JBMDL’s strategic location and key missions is the frequency with which Air Mobility Command's Tanker Airlift Control Center calls on JBMDL: on any given day, roughly 50 percent of JBMDL’s possessed aircraft are dedicated to support Combatant Command missions.

Designating JBMDL as MOB4 would provide additional synergies and bolster readiness requirements for all mobility units and air forces along the Eastern seaboard.  JBMDL now provides training for many East Coast units to ensure airlift, tanker and fighter refueling needs are met. 

Existing Assets and Facilities: JBMDL has a $70 million premier tanker infrastructure campus that supports all the current tanker and airlift units. Since the Air Force is seeking to replace the KC-10s at Joint Base MDL, the current tanker facilities can seamlessly absorb the additional aircraft with minimal added infrastructure costs.  JBMDL has the available airspace, runway, and airfield assets described in your criteria, co-located with units operating the variety of aircraft needed for training missions.

Fuel Dispensing, Storage, and Receipt: The tanker unit on JBMDL houses the most advanced fueling system available and is currently the only tanker unit with primary bulk fuel deliveries via secure pipeline, resulting in a safer and more reliable fuel supply. An added benefit is that this unique fueling system more easily supports surge operations for both tanker and airlift operations. The base also utilizes a mix of fuel hydrant pits and refueling trucks that enhance the ability of crowd crews to rapidly refuel aircraft: the 305th aircraft ramps have 61% of its parking spots equipped with hydrants.

Cargo Capacity: We would also like to highlight JBMDL’s cargo capacity, as this was cited as one of the primary reasons that the Boeing 767 was selected as the Air Force's new tanker platform. JBMDL has excelled as an Aerial Port and is more than capable of employing the KC-46’s cargo capacity, as proven not only by its 20-year history conducting KC-10 and C-17 operations, but also its previous decades as host to three Active Duty squadrons of C-141s and three Associate squadrons as well.

Partnerships: In addition to the 305th and 514th – which own and operate KC-10s and C-17s – JBMDL hosts the 614th Contingency Response Wing, the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 108th Wing, and the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center. The KC-46, with its specialized aeromedical airlift capabilities, will similarly complement JBMDL’s rewarding work as home to one of the highly-skilled five-person crews of the 514th needed for that mission. The 108th currently has 52 pilots with not only an excess of 228,700 military flying hours in the KC135R but also has an impressive 69,300 hours in either the commercial 757/767 or the C32B, the military 757 equivalent.

Again, we strongly support the selection of JBMDL for this mission and believe that it represents the clear and cost-effective choice for the Air Force. JBMDL's strategic location, strong track record in tanker and airlift operations, existing infrastructure, and fuel capacity provide the most efficient and most effective location to station thirty-six KC-46s.

Thank you for your time and attention. 

 

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