ENC Community

Lawmaker fights to stop wind farms

August 25, 2018

Wind farm. Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow.

From Lauren Ohnesorge of Triangle Business Journal:

NC Senator Harry Brown, representing Jones and Onslow Counties, believes wind turbines can have an adverse effect on the state’s military bases.

Bulldozers through cornfields, cranes erecting 5-story metal cylinders and turbine blades the length of tanker trucks: It’s the fear of Sen. Harry Brown (R-Jones, Onslow) and a handful of others who worked for years to get the wind martorium – which expires December 31 – in place.

Asked to articulate his fears, Brown says they surround BRAC – Base Realignment and Consolidation. The military is streamlining, he says, and looking for “reasons” to consolidate. A turbine impacting a training flight path could give them one, hence his support of a moratorium to study the issue.

But the military, at least publicly, has said the existing process – which requires a green light from the Department of Defense – is enough.

Right now, there’s just one utility-scale wind farm spinning in the state. The 104-turbine project, developed by Avangrid, spins near Elizabeth City, creating power for Amazon.

Drew Ball, director of the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center, says North Carolina should be scrambling to get more. Ball says other developers are interested, but are stymied by the moratorium.

But, Brown says, “If you live in North Carolina, it’s agriculture and military – that’s our economy. If you don’t protect those two things, well I don’t know what eastern North Carolina will look like.”

Brown says retired generals and other officers, many of whom he claims have reached out in private, fear turbines would devalue bases. He declines to name names.

“They, for a while, had pretty much a gag order – I hate to say it that way, but it’s the truth – to say anything negative about alternative energy,” he says.

One many who denies that characterization is retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, former assistant secretary for energy, installations and the environment with the US Navy.

“We have an open, transparent, objective process that is tried and true,” he says. “I told this to the senators that I met last month in Raleigh. …It isn’t zero sum. It isn’t military bases or wind farms.”

Retired Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, also denies there’s any kind of gag order.

Castellaw says, “We need alternative energy as an element of our national security. …It’s not just about somebody trying to make money. What it’s about also is contributing to the energy portfolio of America and to the security that the energy portfolio provides.”


Senators Burr and Tillis support F-35B Growth for Cherry Point

May 22, 2018


For Immediate Release: May 22, 2018
For More Information Contact: Marc Finlayson (252) 617-0757

Washington, DC: North Carolina’s US Senators Richard M. Burr and Thom Tillis urged the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Armed Services and Defense Appropriations Committees to purchase 93 F-35 fighter aircraft during the 2018-2019 federal fiscal year. This request, made in an April 11 letter to the Senate appropriators, would add 16 Joint Strike Fighters to next year’s budget. Senator Tillis is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Personnel Subcommittee. Senator Burr is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The President’s Budget included 77 F-35s for $10.7 billion.

Senators Burr and Tillis joined with 23 of their fellow Senators to urge that funding be increased as part of a cost savings and production effort to ensure that an optimal production rate of 80 F-35As, 24 F-35Bs and 24 F-35Cs is achieved as quickly as possible.  Individual unit costs have come down 60% over the past 11 years, with the goal of a $79 million aircraft by 2020.

“We are pleased to work in close concert with Senators Burr and Tillis and their very capable staffs on this important funding effort,” said ACT President Will Lewis.  “Both Senators have a completely open door policy with ACT and our community leaders on all things Cherry Point.  It is also important to remind ourselves that cutting costs by increasing production is a means to an end to ensure that Cherry Point and FRC-East will remain a national military asset.”

Cherry Point is the largest Marine Corps Air Station in the world, and the planned assignment of 94 F-35B fighters to the station by the mid-2020s will mean that Cherry Point will be home to the largest deployment of Joint Strike Fighters in the Marine Corps.

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Watch: Lockheed Martin F-35B Tests Vertical Landing in North Carolina

January 29, 2018


The Lockheed Martin F-35B is taking to the skies at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field (MCALF) Bogue in North Carolina. According to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing fighter is scheduled to conduct sloped surface vertical-landing tests through late February.

The Marine Corp. hopes the tests, conducted by the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force (ITF) team, will expand the expeditionary envelope for the F-35B, MCAS Cherry Point said.

“We hope to be able to relax the landing pad certification limits in terms of maximum slope/gradients in the context of expeditionary pads — existing and future,” said Bob Nantz, F-35 Pax River ITF Performance/Environmental Technical Specialist.

For the sloped surface vertical landings tests, Marines from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Cherry Point and MCALF Bogue built four expeditionary landing pads of different slopes: left, right, forward and back. The pads were constructed out of material similar to the AM-2 matting, according to the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair). Marines use the material to build expeditionary runways or landing pads while on deployment.

MCAS Cherry Point said the test team will assess how well the F-35B operates on varying slopes in different combinations of environmental and takeoff/landing conditions.

During the month of testing, the Pax River ITF is set to analyze nearly 200 data test points. Navair said this includes how well the F-35B operates on varying slopes, impacts of head and tailwinds, and the effect of aft center of gravity in conjunction with ground slopes. MCAS Cherry Point said testing is done on a graduated basis, which means that the program starts by conducting less risk tests and increases from there.

According to Maj. Michael Lippert, F-35 Pax River ITF test pilot and detachment officer-in-charge, some test results will be instantaneous, as real-time lessons learned are capture. Other results will require more attention, as much of the data needs to undergo significant analysis before any actions are taken.

“These updates will eventually make it to our fleet aircraft while the capabilities of the F-35 will continue to transform the way we fight and win,” Lippert said.

If conditions are ideal and the schedule goes as written, however, the testing could wrap up sooner. When the tests are complete, the aircraft and test team are to depart MCALF Bogue and head back to Pax River in Maryland.

“Bogue is a unique testing location because the expeditionary landing field and the landing pads were constructed entirely by Marines. Conducting the testing at Bogue Field provides the Marine Corps with an opportunity to continue the test and development of the F-35 in the STOVL mode, while simultaneously exercising components of the MAGTF’s Air Combat Element, specifically the Marine Wing Support Squadrons resident aboard Bogue and MCAS Cherry Point,” MCAS Cherry Point told R&WI. “This is significant because it demonstrates the ability for our Marines and their equipment to precisely build expeditionary sites suitable for the conduct of F-35 operations and showcases the unique skillsets these organizations have.”


General Assembly Allocates Funds for MCAS Cherry Point

July 14, 2017


The N.C. General Assembly has allocated funding for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point that will go towards a new maintenance and testing facility.

The state appropriated $3 million to build additional facilities to supplement the Lift Fan Maintenance and Testing Facility planned for FRC East. The facility is designed to improve the industrial base required for the lift fan testing component for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. >>READ MORE


President Trump’s Proposed Defense Budget Benefits MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East

May 26, 2017


For more information, contact Jamie Norment 252.259.2451 or Marc Finlayson 252.617.0757

HAVELOCK, NC– The President’s proposed budget for FY 2017-2018 contains many positive items for the Cherry Point community and Marine Corps. ACT is encouraged to see positive developments on several projects it has actively supported.

ACT has been working on several issues with both the Department of Defense and the Congress that are needed by the Marine Corps and other tenants aboard MCAS Cherry Point. ACT is committed to supporting state and federal budgets and policy that are in the best interest of MCAS Cherry Point, FRC East, and those who serve and work there.

Although the President’s budget proposal will be changed by the Congress over the coming months, ACT will work with all stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcome for MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East.

F-35 Program Fully Supported

We are very pleased to see that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is robustly supported in the President’s request with 70 aircraft being procured and that 20 of those are specifically Short Take Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants specifically for the Marines. We will be working with the Marine Corps and other Defense Department users of the F-35 to further improve those numbers in the Congressional budget process as additional funds are made available to procure aircraft already identified as a real need by the Pentagon, but not specifically funded at this stage.

New Construction Budgeted for MCAS Cherry Point

We are pleased that the budget now contains funds for Military Construction funding (MILCON) that will be used to construct a new Lift Fan Test Facility with about $16 million and to upgrade an FRC East hangar to perform Lift Fan work with about $2.7 million. This will allow FRC East to expand its work on F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and U.S. allies who are purchase the STOVL variant. This helps keep Cherry Point on the leading edge of supporting our warfighters and other F-35 users.


As for BRAC, it has been threatened for occurrence for several years and will likely occur at some point, but we are optimistic that Marine Corps readiness and warfighting requirements coupled with enhancements to Cherry Point in both technology and mission capabilities will help keep it a vital part of America’s future. It is important to remain vigilant as the potential for a new BRAC progresses and to continue to do all we can to sustain and improve Cherry Point’s viability and contribution to America’s national security objectives.

Budget Background and Some Specifics

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, the Trump administration unveiled a budget request, which calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to a wide range of social programs. The $4.1 trillion budget — called “The New Foundation for American Greatness” — proposes $607 billion in defense discretionary spending and $560 billion in non-defense discretionary spending for 2018.

The budget fully reverses the defense sequester by increasing funding for national defense by $54 billion above the cap in current law and fully offsetting this increase with non-defense discretionary reductions. This includes the previously mentioned $52 billion increase for the Department of Defense as well as $2 billion of increases for other national defense programs, including the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The budget proposal requests $146 billion for Military Personnel, $7.1 billion above FY 2017; $271.9 billion for Operations and Maintenance, $22.8 billion above FY17; $125.2 billion for Procurement, $5.6 billion above FY17; $83.3 billion for RDT&E, $13.4 billion above FY17; and $9 billion for Military Construction, $2.4 billion above FY17.

F-35 Funding

The budget provides $10.8 billion for the procurement of 70 F-35 Lightning Aircraft: 20 short take-off and vertical landing variants for the Marine Corps, four carrier variants for the Navy, and 46 conventional variants for the Air Force.

Air Force
F-35 – 46
$ 4,544,684,000

JSF – 4
$ 582,324,000

JSF STOVL – 20 $ 2,398,139,000

About ACT

Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow, or ACT, was originally formed in the 1990s by a group of concerned civic and business leaders to advocate for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center (FRC-E) East. The rallying cause was around the earlier Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Today, ACT is the only regional association of County and municipal governments, non-profits, businesses, and individuals focused exclusively on advocating for MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East through our elected officials.

ACT supports for the continued presence and success of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, FRC East, and their civilian employees. ACT also supports economic development related to Cherry Point’s annual $2.1 billion direct economic impact.

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