Government

Defense Bill Includes $16.2M for YARS, Camp Ravenna

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act yesterday.

The legislation is for $8.8 million for gate upgrades at Youngstown Air Reserve Station and $7.4 million for an automated multipurpose machine gun range at Camp Ravenna, according to a news releases issued Wednesday afternoon by Ohio’s two U.S. senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman.

“We appreciate the success of our congressional delegation in ensuring that vital, badly-needed infrastructure projects are included in the National Defense Authorization Act,” Vito Abruzzino, director of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission, said. He praised both senators as well as U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, Bill Johnson, Jim Renacci, Mike Kelly and Bob Gibbs for their “yeomen’s work in looking after the citizen airmen and soldiers of the 910th Airlift Wing and Ohio National Guard.”

Both senators hailed Senate passage of the bill, which now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature.

“The men and women serving our country at Camp Ravenna and at Youngstown Air Reserve Station deserve the best tools and facilities available as they train for future missions,” Brown, who served on the NDAA conference committee, said. “This investment will make critical upgrades to those facilities and will provide important support for those who have sworn to protect us.”

The new machine gun range at Camp Ravenna provides “important, new, and much-needed training capability” for the Ohio Army National Guard, Portman said. “It will provide our soldiers a realistic environment to meet their training requirements that currently is not available to them in the state of Ohio,” he said.

Securing funding for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station main gate relocation in the bill is also a real benefit to the base and the region. This will both improve security and the flow of people and cargo on and off this busy facility,” he added. 

Construction of the new gate complex at YARS and the new Camp Ravenna machine gun range “will increase the military readiness and lethality of our local heroes and pump nearly $20 million into the local economy via construction and maintenance jobs,” Abruzzino said.

Brown and Portman – joined by members of Ohio’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives – in March urged Defense Secretary James Mattis to select Camp Ravenna for a proposed East Coast Missile Defense site.

Last week, Portman said a decision was expected soon on whether such a site was needed, with a site selection anticipated within 90 days of that announcement. Camp Ravenna is one of three finalists for the $3.6 billion project if it moves forward.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.