Congressman LoBiondo has consistently taken a personal interest in aiding constituent servicemembers who are deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. He has always been a strong advocate for the 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City. He has consistently worked to secure Military Construction funds (almost $30 million) and newer F-16s for the 177th Fighter Wing. He has supported fighter modernization to the future fighters such as the Joint Striker Fighter (F-35) and the F/A-22 Raptor, but has advocated for fiscal responsibility on these programs. He has remained vocal that we need to maintain our legacy tactical fighter force.
Congressman LoBiondo has focused on Guard and Reserve issues since he was first elected to Congress. He has remained active on issues affecting national Quality of Life and parity concerns for the Guard and Reserve components. He has supported military pay raises and improved benefits for our nation's servicemembers through cosponsoring legislation, votes, signing letters, and his service on the House Armed Services Committee. He also supported keeping the increase in Imminent Danger Pay(combat pay) and Family Separation for servicemembers stationsed in combat zones.
Congressman LoBiondo interceded with the Army to ensure members of the 253rd Transportation Company (CMCH) had adequate body armor with Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI) plates. They did not have enough body armor on patrol and were using Iraqi body armor as a stop-gap measure. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and of the House National Guard and Reserve Component Caucus, he fought to fully fund the Air Sovereignty Alert mission for the Air National Guard.
In 2007, in response to the planned terrorist attack on Fort Dix, Congressman LoBiondo joined with fellow NJ House Armed Service Committee members, Congressman Saxton and Andrews, to include language in HR 1585 which would require criminal and terrorist background checks of everyone entering a military base.
Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo was pleased by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's announcement on August 15, 2008 that he would be allowing the National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing to again resume training missions on Warren Grove Gunnery Range. The facility is the primary training range for the 177th Fighter Wing out of Egg Harbor Township. The decision by the Governor is not only the right decision for the National Guard, but for the defense of our nation. As I have repeatedly said, the Warren Grove facility is a critical component of the readiness of 177th Fighter Wing and other units who train there. The indefinite closure of the facility would continue to jeopardize the vital training our servicemen and women need to ensure success in their mission. I am pleased the Governor has finally reviewed and enacted the recommendations of the comprehensive safety plan, and made the decision to allow the 177th to use Warren Grove.
Congressman LoBiondo is happy to announce that the House passed H.R. 5856, the "Fiscal Year 2009 National Defense Authorization Act" by a vote of 384 to 23. Included in the bill is $8.4 million for the 177th Air National Guard Fighter Wing which operates out of the Atlantic City International Airport for the new construction of Phase I of a two phase Operations and Training Facility. The new facility will house key wing administrative functions, including offices for the wing commander and staff; environmental manager; public affairs; wing safety; support group commander and staff; counseling and family support services. It will also be the location for the new dining facility, honor guard and fitness areas.
In 2007 Congressman LoBiondo secured $440,000 in FY08 Appropriations earmarks and grants for the development of an Aviation Research Park, to be located adjacent to the Tech Center. The Park would house contractors and academia working in cooperation with the Tech Center to research and develop new aviation safety and security technology. He also secured language in the FAA Reauthorization Act to establish a Center of Excellence in the Research and Development of a Next Generation Air Traffic Control System to be located at the Technical Center. The provision would enable the FAA to spend funds to partner with South Jersey industry and academia on research and development project.