Defense policy bill includes $120M for work at Colorado military bases

An entrance of the Fort Carson Army base in Colorado. (Gazette file)

Colorado would see more than $120 million in construction at local military bases under a $716 billion military policy and spending bill the Senate is taking up this week.

The bill, which has already made its way through the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, would spend more than $100 million on Fort Carson, which would get a $77 million vehicle maintenance facility along with $24 million in new construction for the post’s 10th Special Forces Group.

The Green Berets would get a $15 million “human performance training center” geared to prepare troops for combat in a method that’s reminiscent of how the NFL gets players ready for games. In addition to classrooms, the facility would include physical fitness facilities and amenities for dietary training.

Soldiers with 10th Group would also get a leg up in mountain climbing with a new $9 million mountaineering facility.

A new vehicle repair hub would augment existing motor pool facilities at the post, some of which date to the 1950s.

Air Force spending in the bill includes a $4 million program of energy efficiency upgrades for Schriever Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, which houses the primary network for control of military satellites including the global positioning system.

Other local nuggets in the behemoth bill include a provision that will cut the number of local meetings of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s civilian oversight board.

The academy’s Board of Visitors — which updates the Pentagon, White House and Congress on happenings at the school and provides reform recommendations — is now required by law to meet at the 18,500-acre academy at least twice a year.

The new bill would let the board meet at the academy just once a year.

In recent years, the board has held fall and spring meetings in Colorado Springs, with other gatherings held in Washington.

The bill would also boost private sector backing for the academy’s new CyberWorx facility. CyberWorx, a partnership between the academy and the Pentagon, allows cadets to join in efforts to improve computer technologies for the military.

Academy leaders have planned a new 47,000 square-foot building for CyberWorx; the move by Congress would allow private donations to cover the tab for more than 13,000 square feet of that space.

The Air Force is also planning upgrades for the underground Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station. The complex of tunnels bored into the mountain a half-mile below the summit would get $12.5 million in electronics upgrades.

The bill also has provisions that could push more change at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs.

While not calling for a separate space force, the measure demands a report on how space efforts are now overseen and adds provisions designed to speed up Air Force efforts to buy new satellites and other space gear.

The bill faces a long process in the Senate, where lawmakers will amend the measure and argue over the House provisions in the coming weeks.

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