Introduction of the new KC-46 refueling tanker to the Defense Department's fleet means that the clock is ticking on a decision of where to house it. Shore Representative Tom MacArthur (R-3), who's beaten the drum for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), now has 282 elected officials from the region supporting his efforts.

Rep. Tom MacArthur and enlistees at Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst (Kate Pudiwill)

The Republican gathered endorsements of 106 local officials from Ocean County, 148 from Burlington County, and 28 more county and state-level officials onto a letter of support, aimed at illustrating their recognition of the installation's value to the area economy and security.

See the full letter here.

Every state Senator and Assembly member from legislative districts 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 30 are represented, along with the Ocean and Burlingotn County Boards of Chosen Freeholders, along with 17 Ocean County communities and 32 Burlington municipalities in JBMDL's radius. Curiously, the only Brick Township official noted is Mayor John Ducey.

The KC-46 replaces the aging KC-10, which has had JBMDL as its home base.

MacArthur used his spot on the House Armed Services Committee to postpone retirement of the KC-10, and any planned base realignment and closure (BRAC) procedures, until 2017. He also inserted JBMDL-oriented provisions into the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

"I was proud my amendments protecting the current refueling tanker were included in our nation's defense bill, as well as the government funding bill passed in December," MacArthur said in prepared remarks.

"These protections were critical to the survival of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the 42,000 New Jersey residents employed there, as well as the tens of thousands of additional jobs that rely on the base."

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