Efforts by U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties) to have the U.S. Navy base the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aerial vehicles at Naval Base Ventura County paid off today when the House Armed Services Committee included it in National Defense Authorization Act.
The other two bases considered in the running for basing the BAMS were the Beale Air Force Base in Yuba, CA, and the Lemoore Naval Air Station in Lemoore, CA.
Gallegly pointed out that both bases are landlocked, whereas NBVC provides "direct access to restricted airspace contiguous with a 64,000-square-mile sea test range; a proven workforce that has a history of working on unmanned vehicles; and current availability of unused hangers, parking aprons and administrative, training and warehouse spaces."
Gallegly has worked for three years with Navy officials, congressional colleagues and RDP-21 to bring the BAMS to NBVC.
Gallegly thanked Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) for including the provision in the bill.
"Chairman McKeon would not have directed that the BAMS be based at Naval Base Ventura County if he were not convinced that NBVC is the best choice for the mission," Gallegly said.
The committee approved the bill on a 56-5 vote.