Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Waiting for BRAC Soon, Travis Air Force Base will get its answer

Article Launched: 05/11/2005 07:49:01 AM

Waiting for BRAC

Soon, Travis Air Force Base will get its answer

This week, communities across America are on pins and needles waiting to hear the government's base closing recommendations for a new round of military realignment.
The so-called Base Realignment and Closure process could have major implications for Solano County.

The Travis Community Consortium - a local contingent of business and civic leaders - has worked hard to convey the importance and viability of Travis Air Force Base to the military, the local economy and the state's fiscal infrastructure.

We have high hopes that the message has been received.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will announce his recommendations for closure or realignment by Monday. Some sources are expecting a decision as early as Friday.
Those recommendations will go to a base-closing commission, which will develop a final list. The president can approve or reject this list, but there are no political trade-offs - he cannot change it. If the president approves, the list goes to Congress, which must approve or reject the whole list but, here again, no horse-trading.

We understand the military's need to eliminate unnecessary redundancies and streamline military spending and operations, but the timing is unfortunate. As we maintain troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, and as we continue to wage our ongoing war against terror, the military's future needs to be guided by a definitive plan, and a show of strength.
Big cuts in military bases will only hurt the military's stability at this critical time.

Officials now estimate that 10 percent to 12.5 percent of all domestic bases, representing 42 to 53 facilities, might be shuttered. Fortunately, that estimate is down from an earlier expectation that as many as 25 percent of all domestic bases would be closed.

The threat is not to be taken lightly. In the past four rounds of base closures, California has suffered mightily. In Solano County, the loss hit home when Mare Island Naval Shipyard was shuttered. It has taken years to overcome, and still the recovery continues.
California lost a total of 29 military installations through the years, which add up to $9.6 billion in revenue and 100,000 defense-related jobs.

That cannot and should not happen again.

We believe that Travis Air Force Base in on firm ground, due to its unique mission, its advantageous geography and its stellar performance through the years. We hope that soon good news will be heard; that the military reaffirms Travis' worldwide mission and its standing in our community.

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