The Associated Press
FAIRBANKS (July 13, 2:45 p.m. ADT) - A draft military spending bill in the U.S. Senate proposes to spend $33 million on the airfield at Fort Greely where the Department of Defense is building a missile defense system.
The money is one of many Alaska projects funded in the fiscal 2004 defense appropriations bill, which the Senate Appropriations Committee recently finished.
Alaska GOP Sen. Ted Stevens, committee chairman, said the bill fully funds the Bush administration's request for missile defense funds.
"This additional funding will greatly enhance the capabilities of the ground-based midcourse missile defense program in Alaska," Stevens said in a news release.
The bill also contains $22 million to continue work on Fort Wainwright's power plant and central heating system renovation.
The Army has been rebuilding parts of the plant and adding pollution control technology in recent years. Another $20 million would go to the Air Force for radar upgrades at Gakona.
Stevens said many of the projects in the proposed defense spending bill support the coming Stryker Interim Brigade Combat Team at Fort Wainwright and Fort Richardson. Such brigades, of which there are already two in Washington state, are supposed to be able to deploy anywhere in the globe within four days.
However, a recent Government Accounting Office report noted that the goal remains out of reach. The committee also added $3 million, above the Bush administration's request, for Alaska National Guard counter-drug work.