The twenty-first century has brought with it many changes in the world of defense and national security. And as more rogue nations seek nuclear weapon capabilities, the United States must remain poised to protect her citizens. Threats to our homeland are not only coming from nations with clearly-defined borders, but also networks of underground organizations that span countries and continents.
These evolving threats are monitored around the clock at U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), tucked inside Offutt Air Force Base near Bellevue, Neb.
STRATCOM is a joint command center responsible for detecting and deterring strategic threats to the United States. Composed of service members from all branches of the military, STRATCOM oversees missile defense, military satellite, intelligence and surveillance operations, cyber security and United States' nuclear arsenal.
But many things have changed since 1957, when the headquarters building, now occupied by STRATCOM, first opened its doors. The demand that today's new technologies place on the current headquarters has strained the ability of its facilities to keep up with increasingly-sophisticated and rapidly-evolving threats.
Recognizing this need, Congress has approved plans for a new and improved facility at Offutt AFB, and just last week, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded the first increment of $120 million for the new headquarters--the first of several for the $525 million project. Because the Department of Defense requests incremental funding in phases and Congress appropriates funds on an annual basis, the remaining funding for the project will be provided in the coming years.
I am pleased to see this much-needed project moving forward. This new facility will ensure STRATCOM, the nerve center for our country's strategic defense and military capabilities, is equipped to successfully carry out its mission.
The 915,867 square-foot facility will house state-of-the-art computer and information systems that will enhance STRATCOM's ability to respond to new and complex threats around the globe. The headquarters is scheduled to be completed in 2016. Nebraskans can be proud that our state will continue to play a central role in the safety and security of the United States and its allies well into the future.
This announcement is good news for Nebraska's economy as well as our nation's security. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the project could provide more than 400 new local jobs during the construction phase. The Army Corps of Engineers will be working with a local Omaha company, which is additional good news for Nebraskans.