WASHINGTON, D.C. - During a Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) fought for a new active duty mission at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and advocated for Holloman Air Force Base's candidacy to house F-35's in the future. A list of the witnesses at the hearing is available here.
White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico is a national treasure for U.S. military testing and training. Senator Heinrich highlighted that there exists significant new infrastructure in place at WSMR to host an active duty mission for the Army, citing more than 130,000 square feet of brand new facilities--from the 2nd Engineering Battalion's headquarters, to maintenance bays, to a new dining facility. By placing an active duty component at WSMR it would not only make the best use of WSMR's capacity, but also reduce the incremental cost of servicing the existing missions. Senator Heinrich argued that if Congress is able to provide relief from the damaging cuts of sequestration, then the Army should look to WSMR and take full advantage of its new facilities and unparalleled testing and training environment.
Additionally, Senator Heinrich welcomed the arrival of F-16's, airmen, and their families to New Mexico's Holloman Air Force Base. He expressed that he would continue to keep his eyes on the future for the military community in southern New Mexico by supporting increased production of F-35's and consideration of bringing F-35's to New Mexico in the Air Force's next round of basing decisions.
Senator Heinrich also discussed how important the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program at Kirtland Air Force Base is to national security and defense. Last month, Senator Heinrich welcomed $6.4 million in federal funding to support the ORS program.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich mentioned that he will participate in the Annual Bataan Memorial Death March at WSMR on Sunday, March 22, 2015.