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Dover Air Force Base gets $30M for blood processing facility

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Dover Air Force Base, Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory-East facility

The Armed Services Blood Program provides blood products for deployment on the front lines and overseas operations. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DAFB

DOVER – The Dover Air Force Base will become the new site of the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory-East (ASWBPL-East) facility. The $30.5 million project will replace the 1955 building for refrigerator and freezer upgrades and square footage expansion. 

The funding for the new facility was a part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which received bipartisan support in Congress and was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Dec. 22. The NDAA authorized a record $886 billion in annual military spending, along with a 5.2% pay raise for military servicemembers and the Department of Defense’s (DOD) civilian workforce. 

“Dover Air Force Base has long been a premier military installation bolstering the readiness of our armed forces. Today, with the funding authorization of the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory-East facility, DAFB will continue to lead the way in supporting the mission of those in uniform,” U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester said.  

The DOD has two ASWBPLs, an East and West facility, which are currently located in New Jersey at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and in California at the Travis Air Force Base. 

The Armed Services Blood Program Division Chief Capt. Leslie Riggs told Delaware Business Times that DAFB was selected for the new facility due to its military flight line. 

“I am looking forward to the capabilities this is going to bring us, as facilities age, and as requirements have grown over the years, you need a little more square footage and a little more refrigerators and freezers,” he said.

Riggs estimates the new facility will break ground in 2026. 

Established in 1952, the Armed Services Blood Program functions like the American Red Cross within the military context with over 150 locations. It serves as the military blood program, providing blood products for deployment on the front lines and overseas operations, serving as lifesaving transfusion products on the battlefield and in treatment off the frontlines. 

The ASWBPL-East facility serves as the primary processing and distributing center that provides blood products to support the Central, European, and Africa combatant commands in addition to military medical treatment facilities and Veterans Affairs medical centers.

“The 2024 NDAA takes meaningful steps to ensure America’s armed forces are prepared for a changing world, and it supports our national security, servicemembers, and veterans,” U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said in a statement. “I am particularly proud of the investment in a new ASWBPL-East facility at Dover Air Force Base, which will make it easier and more efficient for the blood products that travel through Delaware to reach servicemembers around the world.”

 

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