Senate committee passed NDAA that halts F-15E retirements at Seymour Johnson

US Sen. Ted Budd, R-NC, June 18, 2024. Source: Screenshot from Budd's YouTube page.

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  • The NDAA also includes $307 million in military construction, planning, and design funding for North Carolina’s military installations.

Inside the US Senate’s 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now headed to the Senate floor, a provision prohibits the Air Force from divesting F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro through 2029.  The US Air Force plans to shelve 26 Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson next year.

US Sen. Ted Budd, R-NC, has been working with colleague to secure the provision, arguing that the Strike Eagles have more than half their service life remaining and recently received multi-million-dollar upgrades to their radars and avionics. In a press release out this week Budd points out that the aircraft from North Carolina’s 335th Fighter Squadron helped defend Israel by shooting down dozens of drones and missiles from Iran in April.

“The Air Force’s plan to divest F-15E Strike Eagles would harm our national security and shatter the Goldsboro community,” Budd said, also in a video. “As was made clear in countless Armed Services Committee hearings this year, F-15Es are incredibly capable aircraft that are unmatched in the fleet. I am thrilled that my colleagues agreed with me that divesting these aircraft was a misguided decision by the Air Force.”

Source: US Sen. Ted Budd YouTube page.

He said several top military officials called the Strike Eagles phenomenalvery capable, and critical for scenarios in the Indo-Pacific.

The NDAA also includes a 4.5% pay raise for North Carolina service members and their families, more than $300 million in military construction projects, accelerating production of infantry squad vehicles, and investing in research and development at North Carolina companies and educational institutions.

“North Carolina is the proud home of eight military installations, a growing defense industry, and world-class academic and research centers contributing to our national security,” Budd said. “I am proud to support our men and women in uniform by improving their quality of life and ensuring they have the facilities, equipment, and other tools necessary to keep America a strong nation for decades to come. The investments we are making in our state and our military are necessary to combat the growing threats posed by China, Russia, Iran, and terrorists plaguing the Middle East and coming across our border.”

The $307 million in military construction, planning, and design funding for North Carolina’s military installations includes:

Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point ($135 million)

Camp Lejeune ($82.4 million)

Fort Liberty, formerly Fort Bragg ($41.8 million)

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base ($41 million)

North Carolina National Guard ($6.3 million)

But the secured provisions are not a done deal. The NDAA must pass the House, face a conference committee between the chambers, pass both the House and Senate, and then be signed by the president.

“I will continue to fight for important investments to modernize the joint force, and improve readiness and lethality, and oppose highly problematic provisions, such as requiring women to register for the Selective Service,” said Budd. “Any effort to draft our daughters is simply wrong.”

In the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Don Davis, D-NC, an Air Force veteran, has also been arguing for keeping the Strike Eagles in Goldsboro saying divestment would cost 520 jobs in Wayne County.