Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Fate of Navy Squadron Move Hangs on Hearing

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Fate of Navy Squadron Move Hangs on Hearing

Article excerpt

of E-6A aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City may not be decided until June 9, Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., said Thursday.

That's the date the Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled markup hearings on the Defense Department's budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. That request contains $38.1 million for the Navy to build facilities at Tinker to house the 15 airplanes.

However, $11.8 million in funds for the current fiscal year, which already has been authorized for the move, have been withheld by the committee's subcommittee on military construction.

When a decision is made, members of Oklahoma's Congressional delegation say, the $49.9 million probably will be released in one lump sum rather than for separate funding for two years.

This comes in the face of strong support from two Defense Department officials who said Tinker is the logical location for the airplanes regardless of cost.

"But," said Nickles, "facts show that it will cost less."

A report, demanded by members of the subcommittee and released last week by the Navy, says that Tinker will be the better location, from both economical and national security standpoints, Nickles said.

"The undersecretary (Navy Undersecretary H. Lawrence Garrett III) testified (Wednesday) that even without the economical considerations," Nickles said, "that Tinker would be the best choice to base those planes.

"Compatibility of parts with the E-3A (flown by Air Force units based at Tinker) as well as the quality of work there make Tinker the logical choice. He said that even if it cost more money, he would prefer the planes to be based at Tinker. However, facts show that Tinker would cost less."

Unclassified portions of the report, signed by Garrett, show that four options were studied. …

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