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Defense Department Officials List Stimulus Act Projects

Jim Garamone - American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2009 - Defense Department officials today announced 3,000 projects that the economic stimulus legislation signed last month will fund.

A complete list of the projects is available at http://www.defenselink.mil/recovery and at http://www.recovery.gov. Defense officials will continue to use those Web sites to post future announcements.

The two biggest projects are hospitals at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Fort Hood, Texas, Defense officials said.

The projects are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law last month. The Defense Department received $7.4 billion under the law, with $5.9 billion going for construction and repair projects.

The funds are to be spent at Defense Department facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. The primary purpose of these funds is to create jobs and stimulate economic activity, officials said.

Total funding for the act is $787 billion, with the $7.4 billion Defense Department portion aimed at projects that could be accelerated or started at once. Department officials can obligate stimulus funds for military construction projects through the end of fiscal 2013, and the rest through the end of fiscal 2010.

These projects will provide much-needed improvements to military installations, and include hospitals, child development centers, barracks projects, family housing, community centers, gymnasiums and other facilities for troops and their families.

The act also funds needed infrastructure repairs including water projects, electrical grids, steam lines and sewers.

The hospitals at Camp Pendleton and Fort Hood are examples of this need. Both bases have sent thousands of soldiers and Marines to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. The current hospital at Fort Hood was built in the 1960s to service a far smaller community. The base hospital now can accommodate a community of roughly 30,000 beneficiaries, but it serves a beneficiary community of 50,000. The Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton is a 123-bed hospital, and it needs to expand to handle the Marines and retirees in the area.

Another focal point of the bill is $555 million for a temporary expansion of the Homeowner's Assistance Program benefits for private home sale losses of both military and civilian Defense Department personnel. The program reimburses those who lose money on a home sale due to a forced relocation.

The program allocates roughly $300 million for military energy research programs.

Officials said the ARRA funds would be spent as quickly as possible, with full transparency and accountability.

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