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2010 plan promises a bigger, better MacDill

by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer

This is an overview and part one of a series of seven articles outlining the MacDill 2010 plan, a comprehensive document for the future of MacDill Air Force Base, recognized for its strategic importance since World War II as home to fighters and bombers and in more recent years tankers and support aircraft, as well as command operations headquarters for Central Command and Special Operations Command.

Living for today may be a great philosophy for some but its no way to run an Air Force base. Enter MacDill 2010, a comprehensive plan for the future of MacDill. The product of construction, infrastructure and improvement projects long in planning combined with the progressive vision of 6th Air Mobility Commander Col. Tanker Snyder for a more efficient and modern base, the $400 million plan outlines every major project that will carry the base into the year 2010.

Lt. Col. Anthony Foti, base civil engineer, said the recently finished plan details "the changing face of MacDill" and is a coming together of much work and direction from Col. Snyder. It covers everything from repaving and shifting electrical utilities to underground - called "Moving electrical from heaven to earth," to projects like support for a $154 million renovation and expansion of Central Command, a $65 million renovation program to support Special Operations Command, an expanded Security Forces building, construction of a War Fighter Center of Excellence and what the plan calls "Demo of the uglies," or the demolition of older buildings to housing construction referred to in the plan as "Building communities and not just houses." Many other projects, including runway work and a new consolidated base support facility are part of the plan and will be detailed in future installments of this series of articles.

While much of the work has been on the drawing board for a while, things began to gel and the varying elements came together under the leadership of Col. Snyder, said Mike Cooley, chief of programs for Civil Engineering.

"When Col. Snyder came in he had a lot of ideas and things he wanted to accomplish," said Cooley.

Col. Snyder put an emphasis on roads and utilities as well as pedestrian transportation routes, which Cooley said will be supported by the largest budget it has ever received for road and electrical work - $70 million in fiscal year 2003. The 2010 plan is broken into what Lt. Col. Foti and its planners have called the six "pillars" to a world-class base. The metaphor is appropriate in that like pillars, MacDill must be able to support its Air Force mission. The pillars include Mission, Quality of life, Base support, Infrastructure, Force protection and Environmental.

The plan ensures the MacDill of the future is one ready to support the mission, whatever it may be, said Lt. Col. Foti. While today that means air mobility and refueling, in the future it could be different.

Cooley said about 80 percent of the plan is certain to be implemented, with the remaining 20 percent providing the flexibility the base may need to change with the times and mission.

Lt. Col. Foti and Cooley agree MacDill, at more than 50 years old is a "middle-aged" air base that requires upkeep, with $10 million budgeted annually just to maintain roads, utilities and buildings. But, they say it is a strong asset with much potential for the future, particularly with the improvement under the 2010 plan.

While low and prone to flooding in a tidal surge, it is a contingency for which planners have prepared and is no different than the demons other bases must face, said Lt. Col. Foti, like earthquakes, snow and other natural challenges. Work toward the 2010 goal already is under way, including the nearly completed Mission Planning Center, the new Mission Planning Center Park and the demolition of several buildings. Crews also can be seen replacing old water lines around the base, as well as road work. But there is much more to come and based on the ambitious 2010 plan, over the coming months MacDill will be sporting a whole new face.





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