Opinions and Speeches

For decades, Robins Air Force Base has been a critical part of the Middle Georgia community and our state’s military family. We were recently honored to host a large delegation from the base and surrounding community at the U.S. Capitol for the first annual Robins Air Force Base Congressional Breakfast.

This was an opportunity not only to listen, but also to convey to our military leaders that Robins Air Force Base is an essential component of our national defense and the economic engine of Middle Georgia. Additionally, this collaboration underscores that our delegation is committed to this installation.

The meeting included Col. Jeff King, 78th Air Base Wing commander, and other senior military and civilian leaders from Robins Air Force Base. The event also included Robins’ community partners such as the 21st Century Partnership, as well as former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who was an esteemed member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

Robins Air Force Base provides support to all branches of the military throughout the world. In addition to being home to the 78th Air Base Wing, it is also home to the headquarters of Air Force Reserve Command, the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex and the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, known as JSTARS to the military community.

The JSTARS surveillance fleet has proven especially useful in the war on terrorism and has flown in support of U.S. joint forces deployed in five different geographical combatant command areas of responsibility. But, the fleet is meeting its service life capacity and is expected to hit 1 million flight hours later this year. The future of JSTARS depends on the Pentagon’s willingness to fully support the fleet’s recapitalization. We have made clear to the Pentagon, and reiterated our position during this meeting, that JSTARS must be a budget priority

Thankfully, in addition to its official partners, Robins Air Force Base’s partnership with the entire community enhances the strong support for the airmen and women serving our country both at home and abroad, making every day in Middle Georgia “Armed Forces Appreciation Day.”

Through efforts with local schools, Team Robins continues to help shape science, technology, engineering and math education. The STEM subjects are key to student success at our nation’s service academies and in our armed forces, and the extra assistance students receive due to Robins makes all the difference in the world.

With a $1.3 billion payroll, 22,000 employees and $2.75 billion in economic impact, every community would like to have as asset like Robins Air Force Base.

As members of Congress, we want to assure Robins Air Force Base and the community that we are dedicated to this important installation. We want the Department of Defense to know we will not stop working to promote and protect this irreplaceable asset. We will continue fighting to make certain the needs of both the installation and the community are met now and into the future.

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Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is the senior senator from Georgia and serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

David Perdue, R-Ga., is the junior senator from Georgia and serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Budget committees.

Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga. is the ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Rep. Austin Scott R-Ga., is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article76108527.html

Re-printed in the Houston Home Journal on May 14, 2016