MARIETTA— A measure that would allow Dobbins Air Reserve Base to enter into partnerships with private companies, giving them access to the base’s runway and control tower, was signed into law Tuesday.
The Marietta base already has a joint-use agreement over the runway with its neighbor, Lockheed Martin, but federal law restricts other similar agreements from being signed. A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2018, which was signed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, eliminates that restriction.
The $700 billion legislation, in addition to authorizing funding appropriations and setting forth policies for Department of Defense programs and activities, includes language that repeals a clause in the 1989 National Defense Authorization Act that set Lockheed Martin as the sole private entity allowed to use the 10,000-foot runway at Dobbins.
The base is home to the U.S. Air Force’s 94th Airlift Wing and host to thousands of Guardsmen, reservists and civilians from the Army, Navy and Marines.
Col. Marty Hughes, commander of the 94th Mission Support Group, said technically the law does not designate Dobbins as joint use, but merely opens the door to such a partnership.