Gov. Ron DeSantis thanked President Donald Trump for approving funding to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base. He also made a play for the newly-created Space Force to locate its headquarters in Florida.
“While not the first appropriation successfully secured by your Administration to rebuild this critical base, the decision to spend over $2 billion for reconstruction efforts for Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) sends a strong message to the personnel assigned to the base and to residents of Bay County that they are not alone in their efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Michael,” DeSantis wrote in a letter to Trump.
DeSantis also thanks Trump for deciding to base F-35 Lightning II fighters at the base, a decision announced by the Air Force last year. The Governor called the jets “the most modern, most completely networked and interconnected fighter in the military’s inventory.”
The budget also includes funding for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program. DeSantis said that will “support mission readiness and resilience, including utilities, transportation, emergency response, schools, hospitals, and other off-base infrastructure.” It should also help families of active service members stationed at Florida bases, he noted.
DeSantis also took the opportunity with the budget approval to make a pitch for Florida to become home to the Space Force.
With Trump’s signature on the Authorization Act, the Space Force officially came into being. CNN reports that makes it the first new branch of the military since the U.S. Air Force in 1947.
It’s a move first announced by Vice President Mike Pence during a stop in Florida last year. Ever since, Florida leaders have lobbied heavily for the headquarters to come to the Sunshine State, already home to Cape Canaveral Spaceport and U.S. Central Command.
DeSantis made clear he wants the headquarters here as well.
“I am pleased to hear Space Force will become an official branch of our military,” DeSantis wrote. “As you know, we believe that Florida would be the most strategic location to host this unique mission.”