Dec 21 2016

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) has used his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee over the last two years to champion North Carolina’s military installations – including Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson – and has advanced initiatives that reaffirm North Carolina’s status as the nation’s tip of the spear.
Senator Tillis is working to protect Fort Bragg’s rapid deployment capabilities.
Senator Tillis secured a provision in the FY2017 NDAA that would require the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, to submit a report to the Senate outlining plans to extend the runway Pope Airfield and to indicate whether such project is a priority for the Army. 
The runway at Pope Airfield is currently too short to accommodate fully fueled and fully loaded C-17 and C-5 airlifts, forcing the airlifts to be refueled in South Carolina or Newfoundland at a taxpayer cost of $17,000 per hour.

Fort Bragg leaders have previously requested that the runway at Pope Airfield be extended to accommodate the airlift requirements of America’s Global Response Force, whose mission is to have the units of the XVIII Airborne Corps anywhere in the world within 48 hours’ notice. Prior to the latest round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), extending the Pope Runway was the Air Mobility Command’s number one airfield project and the United States Air Force’s number two project for funding.

“On Thursday, North Carolina's Sen. Thom Tillis filed legislation that requires the secretary of the Army to submit a report on plans to extend the Pope runway and whether or not it's a top priority. Unless it does rank high in the Army's to-do list, it may not be funded. Given the Pentagon's renewed emphasis on preparation for rapid response by U.S. forces, and Fort Bragg's unique responsibility in that area, we can't imagine why a longer runway wouldn't be the highest of priorities.” (Fayetteville Observer, Editorial, 4/28/16)
Senator Tillis has been leading the fight to save the C-130 presence at Fort Bragg.
Senator Tillis led the opposition to the Pentagon’s short-sighted and strategically flawed decision to dismantle the 440th Airlift Wing and remove the C-130H presence at Fort Bragg, which has been vital to the training and readiness of the XVIII Airborne.
Senator Tillis has made it clear he intends to continue to hold the Pentagon accountable for failing to meet the training needs of the Global Response Force, and he will continue to work on options to ensure that the future of Fort Bragg includes a C-130 presence.

“The Air Force's initial failure to meet Fort Bragg's jump-training needs set off a firestorm in Congress, led by Sen. Thom Tillis, who has pushed hard for Air Force accountability and improved performance. Less than two months ago, Tillis told us that, ‘we've got a readiness problem’ because the Air Force wasn't meeting Bragg's jump-training needs.” (Fayetteville Observer, Editorial, 8/16/16)
Tillis has been leading efforts to support the mission at Cherry Point, including working to expedite the construction of the F-35B Vertical Lift Fan Repair Facility.
Tillis secured funding last year for a new security fence at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to set the stage for major infrastructure improvements to the base. Cherry Point is the largest airfield in the Marine Corps and is slated to begin receiving the F-35 B Joint Strike Fighter, the replacement for the AV8-B Harrier, before the end of the decade.
Senator Tillis also received a commitment from the F-35 Joint Program Office that the F-35 Lift Fan Repair Facility, vital to the maintenance of the vertical take-off and landing capabilities of the F-35, will be housed at Cherry Point.
“U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis toured Cherry Point on Wednesday afternoon and later met with base supporters, telling them the base’s infrastructure ‘needs to be updated.’ …Tillis said he is excited about the economic prospect of the arrival of F-35B squadrons at Cherry Point, scheduled to begin in 2022 or 2023. ‘North Carolina can play a very important role with what we’re doing down here at Cherry Point already,’ said Tillis. The senator mentioned his support for the location of a new F-35B lift fan facility at Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point.” (Havelock News, 6/2/16)
Tillis successfully halted a plan to transfer 24 AG-64 Apache helicopter froms the North Carolina National Guard.

Senator Tillis secured a provision in the FY2016 omnibus that stopped the planned transfer of 24 AG-64 Apache helicopters from the N.C. National Guard in Raleigh to the regular Army. Tillis’ provision helped save roughly 400 North Carolina jobs, and most importantly stopped a plan that would have undermined the combat prowess of the Army Guard, the nation’s first line of defense.
Senators Tillis & Burr secured funding for the construction of an air traffic control tower at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Last year, the Air Force announced a preliminary decision to establish a new KC-46A Pegasus Air Refueling Squadron at Goldsboro’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Senators Tillis and Burr secured funding for the construction of an air traffic control tower in the FY2016 omnibus. The control tower will provide the needed safety for the squadron of tankers, which are expected at Seymour Johnson by 2019.