a champion for our military
Senator Marco Rubio is a champion for our military and a defender of Florida’s critical role in our nation’s security. Since taking office, he’s secured funding and supported programmatic changes that have seen continued growth in Florida’s defense industrial base in areas such as Melbourne, Orlando, Tampa, Pensacola, and Jacksonville.
At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Eastern Space Launch Range has experienced consistent growth through the continued effort to support public-private partnerships and support for the latest phase of the National Security Space Launch program. Through Rubio’s hard work, Polar Orbit launches have returned to the Florida coast for the first time in decades.
Naval Station Mayport
Naval Station Mayport was near the brink of closure following the 2007 retirement of the USS Kennedy, but through Rubio’s efforts in the Senate, Mayport will soon be home to more ships than ever before. In 2012, Rubio ensured the Navy did not set an early retirement for several Ticonderoga Class Cruisers, four of which were stationed at the Naval Station in Mayport. Most recently, in Fiscal Year 2021, Senator Rubio secured an additional eight P-8 aircraft, which ensure the continued operations of the reserve naval wing operating at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and enhance the modernization of our anti-submarine capabilities.
a vital role in America’s national security
Thanks to Rubio, the U.S. Department of Defense invests heavily in Florida’s military installations. Since 2011, Rubio has secured more than $2 billion in military construction in the state. In 2019 alone, Rubio secured federal funding for 15 military construction projects for the State of Florida for a total of $657 million. From Fiscal Years 2020-2022, Rubio secured more than $330 million in federal funding for projects at military installations across the state. Those projects play a vital role in America’s national security and continue Florida’s long military history.
The devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in 2018 wreaked havoc on Northwest Florida’s labor market, nearly derailing the U.S. Coast Guard’s contract to build the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) with Panama City-based Eastern Shipbuilding. Rubio worked with the Coast Guard, the administration, and his colleagues to secure contract flexibility, saving thousands of local jobs and keeping the critical OPC on schedule.
Rubio has also been a leader in pressing U.S. Presidents and the Department of Defense to fully rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base following Hurricane Michael. Rubio secured language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 that recommits Congress’ duty to ensure Tyndall is rebuilt as the “Base of the Future.” He understands the unique qualities that make Tyndall a valuable asset — not just for Florida, but for our entire nation’s military’s readiness and strength. Thanks to Rubio’s efforts working directly with the Air Force, the service is committed to fully rebuilding the base. Additionally, with continued congressional support, the Air Force plans to make Tyndall the home to three new squadrons of F-35 fighters. In 2021, Rubio’s many years of supporting the F-35 program reaped additional rewards in the Panhandle when the Air Force announced that Eglin Air Force Base would receive a second F-35A Squadron. Using his position on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Rubio continues to fight for the long-term recovery of the Panhandle and the good of our military families.