Florida’s new Defense Support Task Force is stepping up to help Northwest Florida officials preserve a valuable R&D mission at Eglin Air Force Base, the group decided at its first meeting Monday.
In November, Air Force Materiel Command proposed consolidating from 12 bases to five “lead centers.” The consolidation places Eglin’s 46th Test Wing under the command of an officer at Edwards AFB, Calif., making it more likely the service would shift Eglin’s research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) function to Edwards. The task force’s objective is to prevent the command from relocating the base’s 46th Test Wing’s RDT&E component, reported nwfdailynews.com.
The consolidation could be completed as early as May 1.
“The issue we are in essence going through is a BRAC process without the benefit of a BRAC itself,” state Rep. Matt Gaetz (R), a task force member, told the paper.
Last month, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) added a provision to the defense authorization bill requiring the Air Force to prepare a report on the proposed reorganization. It would assess how realigning officers would affect operating procedures, weapons system management and the support of personnel. The service also will need to determine how it can best be restructured to support and sustain personnel and missions, and prepare an analysis of costs and savings, according to nwfdailynews.com.