Democracy Now had on the New York Times’ David Philipps to discuss updates. He explains that, based on what the Air Force has been able to assess, at least 17 of those planes are, in essence, destroyed, costing “somewhere around $5.8 billion.” This doesn’t include the fact that the base itself will cost around $1.5 billion to rebuild. And it’s very important to note here that one of the reasons these planes were destroyed was that this storm was stronger than storms the base had previously seen.
Philipps: When these storms were bearing down, they brought their aircraft that they knew weren’t airworthy and put them in their strongest hangars. These were hangars that had survived every storm previously, and I think they hoped for the best, and they left. And when we saw the footage from the air the morning after the storm ripped through, these hangars were just in ribbons. You could see the planes that were sitting there, now covered in debris. I think at that point, it was not expected. I wasn’t expecting it. Obviously, they were not expecting it. And I think it really showed how much things may be changing.
The destruction of Tyndall Air Force Base prompted a trip from Vice President Mike Pence, who told everyone that the Trump administration would blah blah blah.
"President Trump and I are committed to providing the resources necessary to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base so that it can continue to be a vital and critical part of our national defense," Pence said.
Waste of space Marco Rubio is sending letters to procure taxpayer money for national security interests that Republicans like Marco Rubio have dropped the ball on because they have denied climate change for so long.
In a letter addressed to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson Monday, the Florida Republican stressed urgency, saying the service must ready the fleet to meet Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' request to have an 80 percent mission capability rate in a year's time.
"As you finalize damage assessments of the aircraft that endured Hurricane Michael, I urge you to begin implementation of the framework laid out by Secretary Mattis starting with all Tyndall AFB fighter aircraft," Rubio said. "Additionally, I ask you waste no time or effort in providing a supplemental funding request to Congress to repair and restore these aircraft to mission capable status as soon as possible."
David Phillips tells Democracy Now that it’s not a matter of simply replacing these wildly expensive items; it’s also the costs of creating and rethinking. You need to decide how you rebuild more robustly, including more expensive housing for your expensive stealth fighters.
Philipps: That type of thing can work, but it takes investment. One of these hangars could cost $100 million. And I think that the problem is whether the military will invest. Are they going to get serious about this stuff and will they have support from the administration to say, “Oh, we need to be prepared for bigger and more frequent storms, and so we need to have an infrastructure that will allow these bases to survive”? I think those are probably discussions that are going on right now at the Pentagon, and we’ll see. I don’t know how they’re going to rebuild.
And the problem is, the Republican Party and their faux pro-national-security platform hide the fact that since it took power, the movement for the military to become proactive concerning climate change has weakened greatly.
Philipps: What I have heard from people in the leadership is that that push from the White House is no longer there, but there is still enough inertia within this huge bureaucracy that is the military, that a lot of this stuff is carrying forward. There are a lot of smart people in the military, and they get it. They need to prepare for, like you said, a threat that right now is a much bigger threat to any U.S. bases than any conventional enemy.
The new normal, weather-wise, is that it isn’t going to be normal anymore.