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Rep. Thornberry Weighs in With Sheppard Military Affairs Committee

We've heard speculation about how budget cuts will impact the military -- and, specifically, Sheppard Air Force Base.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And this afternoon, 13th District Congressman Mac Thornberry addressed the Sheppard Military Affairs Committee to share his thoughts.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Katie Crosbie was there and joins us now with more.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Darrell, it was an hour-long meeting that covered a wide range of security concerns, defense strategies, and the federal budget.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Congressman Thornberry said Congress has spent more than 200 million dollars in construction projects at Sheppard during the past ten years ... <br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; He says it will become more difficult to find that kind of funding with a tighter budget.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; And Rep. Thornberry said he's worried that this administration is putting less of an emphasis on NATO.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Sheppard's 82nd Training Wing Commander, General Darryl Burke, said he's confident that Sheppard will be able to withstand any cuts without hurting the mission.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Both pointed to ENJJPT (Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training Program)'s importance - now, more than ever.
We've heard speculation about how budget cuts will impact the military -- and, specifically, Sheppard Air Force Base.
    And this afternoon, 13th District Congressman Mac Thornberry addressed the Sheppard Military Affairs Committee to share his thoughts.
    Katie Crosbie was there and joins us now with more.
    Darrell, it was an hour-long meeting that covered a wide range of security concerns, defense strategies, and the federal budget.
    Congressman Thornberry said congress has spent more than 200 million dollars in construction projects at Sheppard during the past ten years ...
    He says it will become more difficult to find that kind of funding with a tighter budget.
    And Rep. Thornberry said he's worried that this administration is putting less of an emphasis on NATO.
     Sheppard's 82nd Training Wing Commander, General Darryl Burke, said he's confident that Sheppard will be able to withstand any cuts without hurting the mission.
    Both pointed to ENJJPT (Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training Program)'s importance - now, more than ever.

Brig. Gen. Darryl Burke
82nd Training Wing Commander
"The war that we just fought in Libya was a great example of partnership of the young pilots that trained here years ago that now flew together in the NATO environment. And that partnering, & that interoperability between the NATO forces, is always a great thing." 

Rep. Mac Thornberry
"What we know is that NATO is the only successful working alliance that really does something. And it's done something in Africa, South Asia -- my point is, don't mess up something that works - make it stronger."

    Congressman Thornberry and General Burke both emphasized the value of the strong relationship between the base and this community.
    Thornberry said if funding gets cut for different programs on base, there might be creative ways for base/ community partnerships to keep certain programs alive.
    Rep. Thornberry said every time the United States has scaled back the military in the past, the country has regretted it.
    Former Sheppard Vice Commander Bill Miller also shared his insight with us:


Bill Miller
Former SAFB Vice Commander

"Too often, people look at money as the bottom line - and not the direction the money's gonna take you. You can cut certain things and it doesn't hurt so much - you can cut other things & it's terrible. The biggest problem I see is that they're not paying attention to that.  They're more worried about getting to a number, rather than what that number does, or how it affects the forces out there."

Rep. Mac Thornberry
U.S. District 13

"We should not - in my opinion - spend more money on the military just to create jobs. But if we're gonna cut the military, we also ought to understand the number of jobs that will be affected. Whether it is folks in the military, or civilians, or contractors who build airplanes and things."

Congressman Thornberry and Gen. Burke both emphasized the value of the strong relationship between the base and this community.
    Thornberry said if funding gets cut for different programs on base, there might be creative ways for base/community partnerships to keep programs alive.
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