Armed Forces News

Peterson, CO - 2014: Firefighters with the Peterson Air Force Base Fire Department conduct live training with an all-steel training structure is fueled by a massive propane tank, designed to resemble a C-130 Hercules airframe. It provides firefighters with a realistic scenario to train with and maintain skills. (Air Force photo by Michael Golembesky)

Bases vulnerable to energy and weather damage would need to be hardened and better suited to survive, under a provision in the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee’s version of the 2021 defense-spending bill.

The panel wants to see the services improve microgrids and plan new construction with an eye toward renewable energy and sustainability during power disruptions. Base commanders would work more closely with energy and utility providers outside the perimeter, to improve resiliency.

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The panel also wants the services to provide better information about wait lists, as well as improved safety measures and quality-of-life sustainment at childcare centers.

Issues with the costly F-35 program also garnered attention. Lawmakers want more information about the aircraft’s depot standup, technical data requirements, unique tooling, contractor assistance and supply-chain management. The Pentagon comptroller general would be required to produce annual reports from 2022 through 2025 about the plane’s sustainment system, with a focus on reducing costs and improving affordability.

Another provision would require the Defense Department to tackle the problem of AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) spillage, and “increase transparency” about worrying contamination from these fire fighting “forever” chemicals that make their way into ground water.

Use of PFAS materials (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) would be halted until the EPA comes up with interim guidance for their disposal, which could cost billions across military installations – with abutting farms and communities also impacted.

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