Congressman Roger Williams, R–Austin, testified in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning to request support for various projects at Fort Hood.
Williams, whose district includes part of Fort Hood, appeared before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies to request support to improve the barracks and motor pools on Fort Hood.
“As a member of Congress whose district includes Fort Hood, I know that the Great Place is the gold standard for the Army, the Department of Defense and our nation’s overall national security posture,” Williams said. “As you begin work on the fiscal year 2018 Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, I request language be added to ensure Fort Hood remains the gold standard.”
Williams asked that “action be taken” concerning Fort Hood’s tactical equipment maintenance facilities. There are dozens of such facilities in the post’s many motor pools.
Williams also requested funding to upgrade the barracks at Fort Hood and expressed support for fully funding a future sensitive compartmented information facility, which is a secured room for processing data on the post, according to a news release.
Williams presented no dollar amounts for the projects to the committee.
At a Killeen luncheon Nov. 11, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, said aging barracks and motor pools are a problem at Fort Hood.
Of the 99 barracks at Fort Hood, half are below acceptable standards, he said.
Of the 75 motor pools at Fort Hood, one-third were built in the 1950s for World War II Sherman tanks, not for today’s larger Abrams tanks.
Buildings across the Army post were constructed in the 1980s before information technology supported Wi-Fi and internet connections, so you’ll see “soldiers standing outside” those buildings “trying to get a signal on their Blackberry phones. ... It’s a challenge,” MacFarland said.
Williams also urged more support for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“There are many worthwhile veteran programs that should have our full attention,” Williams said. “Although I am encouraged that President (Donald) Trump has exempted VA medical staff from the hiring freeze, I think the need to hire qualified doctors to take care of our veterans is now more important than ever. Hiring more doctors would give us the ability to further reduce our VA claims backlog and provide timely care to our veterans.”