Durbin Meets with Air Force Secretary to Discuss Illinois Defense Priorities

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) met today with today with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. Earlier this week, Durbin also met with General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Today, Secretary James and Durbin – who also serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees discretionary spending for our nation’s military, including bases – discussed the long-term future of Illinois’ Air Force installations, including Scott Air Force Base.


“I am proud to represent some of our nation’s premier Air Force defense installations and the talented servicemen and women who work there,” Durbin said. “Illinois installations like Scott Air Force Base, Springfield’s 183rd Fighter Wing, and Peoria’s 182nd Airlift Wing have long played an important role in our nation’s defense.  It was a pleasure meeting with Secretary James today, and I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure that the Air Force has a long, bright future in Illinois.”


Illinois is home to a number of important Air Force installations including: Scott Air Force Base, led by 375th Air Mobility Wing and comprised of a number of major tenants including Transportation Command, the 932nd Airlift Wing and the 126th Air Refueling Wing; the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield; and the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria.


Today, Durbin and Secretary James discussed the strong contributions these installations make to the Air Force, as well as future opportunities to continue to contribute to the nation’s defense. Durbin last met with Secretary James to discuss these issues in February 2015. In April 2014, at Durbin’s request, Secretary James visited Scott Air Force Base to tour Scott’s Air Operations Center and the 126th Air Refueling Wing. Secretary James received a firsthand update on the base’s operations and the missions which the base’s various commands are pursuing. In addition to Durbin’s meeting with General Welsh earlier this week, Durbin also met with Gabe Camarillo, the newly-confirmed Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, in January.


Durbin serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the military and intelligence community, the nation’s national security requirements and the daily needs of over two million active duty and reserve service members. The Subcommittee also oversees funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, including military operations worldwide. All told, the Subcommittee controls more than half of the nation’s annual discretionary budget.