WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced legislation aimed at supporting Fort Bragg’s rapid deployment capabilities. Tillis’ legislation requires 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 at Fort Bragg’s Pope Airfield and to indicate whether such project is a priority for the Army.
Earlier this week, The Fayetteville Observer reported that leaders at Fort Bragg want the runway at Pope Airfield to 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.
C-17 and C-5 aircraft cannot depart fully fueled with a full load of paratroopers due to the current 8,500 foot takeoff length of the Pope Airfield runway. Fully loaded C-17s and C-5s require a takeoff length of 10,500 feet, and 11,500 feet, respectively.
VIDEO: Senator Tillis delivers a floor speech today announcing his legislation to prioritize Fort Bragg’s rapid deployment capabilities.
“Extending the Pope Runway to accommodate the airlift requirements of the Global Response Force and the XVIII Airborne Corps is a national strategic priority,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation, which I will also be offering as an amendment to the NDAA during mark-up, requires the Army to report to the Senate plans to extend the runway at Pope and whether or not this is a priority for the Army. Our paratroopers and our taxpayers need to know.”