Rep. Cook Co-Sponsors Amendment to Ensure Readiness of Military Bases Damaged by Earthquakes
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced today that he is co-sponsoring an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to repair any damages to military bases caused by the earthquakes that occurred in the Ridgecrest area this past week. Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) introduced the amendment, which will be considered by the House this week.
The language in the amendment includes any damages sustained at Edwards Air Force Base, Fort Irwin, and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. This amendment calls on the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress within ninety days detailing what corrective actions need to be undertaken to ensure our military readiness. It also requires an explanation as to how the construction projects will incorporate ways to minimize the threat from natural disasters in the future.
Rep. Cook said, “Last week’s earthquakes damaged key military installations in the area. Congress has a duty to ensure these bases are operational and mission ready. We owe it to our men and women in uniform that they have the best tools possible to defend our national security. I thank Leader McCarthy for joining me in recognizing the importance of this amendment and hope that the House will pass it this week.”
Rep. McCarthy said, “Having seen some of the damage firsthand, last week’s earthquakes were devastating to NAWS China Lake and our community of Ridgecrest. Despite the destruction, our American spirit has prevailed in the face of adversity, with people from all over the state coming together to help our neighbors. But we are still recovering.
“NAWS China Lake, along with Edwards Air Force Base and Fort Irwin, are national assets. With the epicenter of the earthquakes on China Lake, the Navy is still assessing damage, but we need to ensure that we are not only rebuilding this important base to address the threats facing our nation today, but also emerging threats in the days ahead. My amendment authorizes $100 million to help address China Lake’s pressing needs and requires the Department of Defense to modernize infrastructure and facilities at China Lake as part of the efforts to return the base to mission-capable status. We will rebuild China Lake, stronger and better.
“These bases are critical to the region and our national security, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this amendment to provide much-needed assistance to areas most impacted by the earthquakes in Ridgecrest.”
A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees, Cook is also the Republican Leader on the House Natural Resources Indigenous Peoples of America Subcommittee. He served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.