Congressman John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Congressman Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, held a press conference Friday at the Bernie Beck Gate following a tour and meeting with Fort Hood leadership.
“I wanted him to see what makes this the Great Place, and the things we’ve got to continue to keep doing so we can continue to be the Great Place,” Carter, who is chairman of Homeland Security Appropriations, said. Carter invited Thornberry to post to showcast current projects and to discuss the post’s future needs.
Needs with high priority include barracks needing renovation, new motor pools, hangar improvements, according to the congressmen.
The primary focus of the committees both congressmen are charged with leading is military readiness — cutting-edge training, equipment and facilities will enable this, they said.
Congress over the past two years has improved readiness across the military, according to the congressmen, but they said more work needs to be done.
“With appropriators working with the authorizers, we can continue to make good progress,” Thornberry said.
A bill addressing the aforementioned needs and defense appropriations is expected to move through Congress next week, according to the two representatives. Thornberry said this will allow congressmen to begin labor upon provisions for fiscal 2020.
“The problems we saw today are not going to be solved by one bill,” he said. “We’ve got to stay after it.”
On Thursday, Thornberry met with leadership at the new U.S. Army Futures Command center in Austin and learned about new technology under testing.
Sensors made to predict when parts in a motor pool need maintenance and replacement are undergoing trials, according to Thornberry, including some being tested on Bradley Fighting Vehicles on Fort Hood.
“It can save money and time if we apply it across all vehicles,” Thornberry said. “There’s no reason it shouldn’t be.”
The congressmen don’t believe base realignments and closures are on the horizon, as another provision made in the past year for Army posts includes allowing bases to condense operations on smaller scales rather than going through a widespread process. Thornberry said a base realignment and closure similar to one in 2005 isn’t on the horizon.
“We’ve got to keep doing things for Fort Hood,” Carter said. “Fort Hood is very important in our lives.”