WASHINGTON, DC In an effort to enhance Rhode Island’s security and modernize the state’s infrastructure, U.S. Senator Jack Reed helped include $20 million to build a new, state-of-the-art National Guard Readiness Center in East Greenwich in the fiscal year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.  The bipartisan bill was advanced today by the full committee on a vote of 30-0.

Overall, the bill provides $83 billion in discretionary funding, a nearly $3.2 billion boost from the fiscal 2016 enacted level.  In addition to discretionary funding, the bill provides $102.5 billion in mandatory compensation and pension funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The bill also provides $66.4 billion in fiscal year 2018 advance funding for veterans health care and $103.9 billion for fiscal year 2018 advance funding for the VA’s compensation and pensions mandatory accounts.

“This bill honors our commitment to our veterans and makes key investments in enhancing our security.  The new National Guard Readiness Center will help our citizen soldiers train for their mission, whether it is overseas or responding to major disasters here at home.  I am pleased to help deliver federal resources to create an improved environment for our soldiers and the community here in East Greenwich,” said Senator Reed.

The $20 million project will construct a new 80,000 square foot Readiness Center to support training, administrative, and logistical requirements for the Rhode Island Army and Air National Guard.  This facility will enable the Command to provide cohesive training events and mobilization/demobilization services.  The new facility will accommodate space for personnel who are currently located at two locations, thereby improving efficiency, communication, and coordination throughout the Command.  The current Command Readiness Center lacks adequate administrative space, classrooms, locked storage space, and an assembly hall for unit formations – all of which adversely affect the Command’s ability to meet readiness, retention, and training objectives. 

The ANG has a $1,205,000 joint share for this project and the State of Rhode Island has a $4,962,000 share based on sole use space.

The bill is still subject to amendments and must be considered and voted on by the full Senate before it can be conferenced with the version in the U.S. House of Representatives.