U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, and U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, announced today the addition of two new cyber protection squadrons at Scott Air Force Base.
“Today’s announcement is great news for Scott Air Force Base and for Southern Illinois,” Durbin said. “These new squadrons give Scott Air Force Base a leading role in supporting the Air Force’s cybersecurity operations, which are critically important to our national security efforts. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, I am always proud to see Illinois’ defense installations play such an important and dynamic part of our nation’s defense.”
“This is a direct message from the Air Force about Scott’s critical role in cyber security,” said Enyart. “These two squadrons will create 320 new positions at Scott, and will come with a 16 million dollar investment in the base’s existing infrastructure. As a 35-year member of the military, I can tell you that this addition is a huge win for Scott.”
Durbin received a call from Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, who joined Durbin at a visit to Scott Air Force Base earlier this year. Enyart received a call from Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Kathleen Ferguson detailing the new acquisition. Contingent on an environmental analysis completed by July 14, the project development will begin this fall, and the positions will be filled over the next two years.
“We all know that Scott plays a vital role in the Southern Illinois economy. It’s clear that the Air Force also considers Scott to play a critical role in our nation’s security,” added Enyart.
At Durbin’s invitation, Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh visited Scott Air Force Base with Durbin and Enyart in March, and Secretary James joined Durbin there in April. Durbin is the chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees discretionary spending for our nation’s Armed Forces, including funding for the operation of military bases.
James and the elected officials toured Scott’s Air Operations Center and the 126th Air Refueling Wing. They also met with civic and business leaders from nearby communities to discuss the strong local and regional support for the base. Gen. Welsh and Durbin held similar meetings during his visit.
Durbin’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee oversees funding for the military and intelligence community, the nation’s national security requirements and the daily needs of over two million active duty and reserve service members. All told, the Subcommittee controls more than half of the nation’s annual discretionary budget.
Enyart serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Agriculture Committee.