Rep. Vargas Fights for NAF El Centro Joint Strike Fighter Homebasing
WASHINGTON, DC (May 20, 2014) –Today, before the House Committee on Rules, Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) is introducing an amendment to H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment would require the Secretary of Defense to conduct a comparative financial analysis, including expected cost savings, of West Coast homebasing options for the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35). Currently, Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro and Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore are being considered.
“At a time when difficult budget decisions are being made, it is incumbent upon Congress to do its due diligence and ensure that a fiscally responsible homebase is chosen for the Joint Strike Fighter,” said Rep. Vargas. “Conducting a comprehensive financial analysis on NAF El Centro and NAS Lemoore is imperative to truly understanding the long-term fiscal advantages between the two proposed options.”
Additionally, the amendment introduced by Rep. Vargas would prohibit the implementation of a homebasing final decision until the required financial analysis has been completed and submitted to the congressional defense committees.
“The final decision for homebasing the F-35 is important not only to our national security, but also to our local economies and surrounding communities,” said Rep. Vargas. “As such, Congress has the responsibility to spend tax-payer dollars wisely and look at the long-term cost saving opportunities when making homebasing decisions.”
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S./Mexico border. Vargas is currently serving his first term in Congress. He represented the 40th California State Senate District from 2010-2012, the 79th California State Assembly District from 2000 – 2006 and served on the San Diego City Council from 1993 – 2000.