DENVER (AP) – A defense bill signed by President Barack Obama includes more than $400 million for Colorado construction projects.
Fort Carson is the biggest beneficiary, with nearly $286 million, including facilities for a new helicopter brigade.
Obama signed the bill Saturday, despite expressing serious reservations about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.
The bill includes at least $70 million for a building at Buckley Air Force Base for the National Security Agency, the clandestine eavesdropping service.
Pueblo Chemical Depot will get $15.3 million to continue work on a facility to destroy 2,600 tons of mustard agent in obsolete shells. The Air Force Academy will get $13.4 million for an inspection station for large commercial vehicles entering the campus.
The Army will get $13.6 million for a Reserve Center in Fort Collins. National Guard facilities in Alamosa and Aurora will get a combined $10 million.
Fort Carson will get $238.6 million for the first phase of construction for the new 13th Combat Aviation Brigade. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates the new brigade will require a total of about $730 million in construction over four years, not including the cost of about 113 helicopters.
The first phase includes barracks, a maintenance hangar, a loading area, the brigade headquarters and control tower work. When it’s fully operational, the brigade is expected to bring 2,700 more soldiers to the post outside Colorado Springs.
Fort Carson will also get $43 million for barracks for a National Guard training complex and $4.3 million for an energy conservation project.
The NSA building at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora will cost a total of $141 million to complete. It will provide space for 850 people whose offices are now in temporary buildings.
Buckley is home to a large contingent of secretive agencies, including the NSA and the National Reconnaissance Office; the Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado; Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine intelligence and information units; and Marine and Coast Guard cryptologic units.
The Pueblo Chemical Depot near the city of Pueblo stores about 780,000 shells containing mustard agent that must be destroyed under an international treaty. A plant to neutralize the agent is under construction and is expected to start operating in 2015.
By DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)