New Castle County Airport
The 166th Airlift Wing is located on historic New Castle County Airport, 5 miles south of Wilmington Delaware. The installation is located on 79.6 acres and includes 44 buildings totaling 256,534 square feet. The normal population of the installation is 290 personnel but surges to 900 personnel one weekend per month. The men and women of the 166 th Airlift Wing support, maintain and fly the C-130 "Hercules." This venerable transport aircraft is used in a variety of roles to include: Airlift, Airdrop and Aeromedical Evacuation. The aircraft of the 166th have seen duty in Saudi Arabia during DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama, Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR in Bosnia, and a host of other countries around the world.
At 1,250 acres, New Castle Airport has three major runways, ten taxiways and several aircraft parking ramps. Approximately 50 business jets and 220 propeller aircraft are based here.
New Castle Airport is the the Delaware River & Bay Authority's largest air facility, with three major runways, ten taxiways and several aircraft parking ramps. Located just five miles south of Wilmington, Delaware, and only a 25-minute drive from Center City Philadelphia, New Castle Airport is ideally situated for our tenants who range from major corporations to individual owners of aircraft. The airport is just a 10-minute drive from Wilmington Amtrak Station with 90-minute connections to New York City or Washington, DC. I-95, I-295 and the New Jersey Turnpike-the gateways to Washington, DC, New Jersey and New York-are only a five-minute drive from the airport.
Secretary of Defense Recommendations: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign New Castle County Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), DE by distributing the 166th Airlift Wing's (AW) eight C-130H aircraft to the 145th AW (ANG), Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (IAP) AGS, NC (four aircraft), and 165th AW (ANG), Savannah IAP AGS, GA (four aircraft). It would also move flying related Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) to McGuire AFB, NJ (Aeromedical Squadron), and Dover AFB, DE (aerial port and fire fighters). Other ECS would, however, remain in place at New Castle.
Secretary of Defense Justification: This recommendation would make experienced Airmen from New Castle (120) available for employment at these nearby installations. DoD claimed that military value was the predominant consideration; New Castle had a low military value ranking and was near other bases keeping or gaining aircraft. Charlotte (33) and Savannah (77) were selected to receive aircraft because of higher military value rankings and avoiding conversion training costs. The Air Force also considered active / Air National Guard / Air Force Reserve manning mix, recruiting, cost factors (to include cost avoidance), environmental factors, and base capacity in its analysis of this recommendation.
The total estimated one-time cost to the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation would be $15.5M. The net of all costs and savings to the Department during the implementation period would be a savings of $29.1M. Annual recurring savings after implementation would be $9.6M, with a payback period expected in one year. The net present value of the cost and savings to the Department over 20 years would be a savings of $120.1M. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 250 jobs (148 direct jobs and 102 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (less than 0.1 percent). Environmentally, there would be potential impacts to air quality; cultural, archeological, or tribal resources; land use constraints or sensitive resource areas; noise; waste management; water resources; and wetlands that may need to be considered during the implementation of this recommendation. Impacts of costs include $0.08M in costs for environmental compliance and waste management.
Community Concerns: The community objected to the complete loss of the Delaware Air National Guard's air mission, leaving behind only an undefined enclave. It pointed out several errors in DoD's justification, including no credit for Landing Zones within 150 nautical miles when two are located on New Castle County Air National Guard Base itself and a third in West Virginia (approximately 120 nm); reduced credit for condition and capability of ramp infrastructure even though significant renovation was in progress; and failure to consider the personnel effects on over 500 drilling guardsmen. Correcting these errors would boost the base's MCI score from 120th to 26th of the 154 bases ranked. Additionally, the community challenged the legality of the recommendation and stated the unit's homeland security missions under FEMA were not considered, nor its role under the Governor's authority.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that the Secretary did not consider the unit's homeland security missions under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It also found that data gathered by the Department was inaccurate in that it did not consider the two landing zones located on the Air Guard Station itself nor the landing zone located in West Virginia within the Air Force's 150 nautical mile range parameter. The commission also found the Air Force assessment did not reflect significant improvements to the ramp infrastructure of the Air Guard Station. Therefore the Commission rejected this recommendation. This recommendation is consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Laydown Plan.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found that the Secretary of Defense deviated substantially from final selection criterion 1, as well as from the Force Structure Plan. Therefore, the Commission recommends the following:
The 166th Airlift Wing (ANG) at New Castle County Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), Delaware, maintains its 8 PAA C- 130 aircraft. Establish 10 PAA C-130 aircraft at the 145th Airlift Wing (ANG), Charlotte/Douglas International Airport AGS, North Carolina. The 165th Airlift Wing (ANG) at Savannah International Airport Air Guard Station, Georgia maintains its 8 PAA C-130 aircraft.
The Commission found that this change and the recommendation as amended are consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. The full text of this and all Commission recommendations can be found in Appendix Q.
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