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Advanced training will allow health care professionals to better support troops overseas

(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced that funding to complete the building of a new Army Reserve Center in Portsmouth has been approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

“Construction of the new Army Reserve Center will create jobs in the Seacoast area and will ensure that the professionals who keep our brave reserve members healthy will receive cutting edge training,” Shaheen said. “We have already spent the money to start the project and I am pleased to know that it will be completed.”

"With the closure of the Paul A. Doble Reserve Center, the Army's decision addresses a key readiness need. These reservists, who will be providing medical care to deployed troops, require the best training possible, and construction of this replacement facility advances that critical goal,” Ayotte said. “I appreciated the opportunity to highlight this priority during a recent meeting of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, of which I serve as Ranking Member."

The Armed Forces Reserve Center will provide critical training for medical support group soldiers—doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals—in a 30-40 mile radius of Portsmouth, which includes reservists in Maine and Massachusetts, as well as New Hampshire. The facility will focus on training individuals prior to deployment so they can provide better medical support to soldiers serving overseas.  Additionally, many individuals who return from deployment will return to civilian health care jobs and they will be better able to serve their local communities based on the training they receive at the Reserve Center.

At a March meeting of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Shaheen and Ayotte questioned Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, about the project.

While BRAC 2005 approved the funding and construction of a new Army Reserve Medical Readiness and Training Center to replace an inadequate 1957 facility, because of increased property costs, there was concern that the necessary funds might not be approved.  However, the Army has now approved the additional $2.167 million needed for the project, bringing the total to $9.167 million.  This additional money will come from FY2010 project savings within the BRAC account. 

Shaheen and former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg amended the language in the National Defense Authorization Act in 2009 to ensure the center could be constructed in Portsmouth.