LA County moves to block military base closures

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This image provided by the United Space Alliance shows the launch of a weather satellite, the Atlas V rocket carrying the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-19 spacecraft on April 3, 2014, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (AP Photo/ United Space Alliance, Bill Hartenstein)

This image provided by the United Space Alliance shows the launch of a weather satellite, the Atlas V rocket carrying the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-19 spacecraft on April 3, 2014, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (AP Photo/ United Space Alliance, Bill Hartenstein)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed today to press Congress to block any federal efforts to downsize or close California military installations.

Supervisor Don Knabe recommended sending a letter to the county’s Congressional delegates expressing concern about potential shutdowns, and his motion was unanimously supported by his board colleagues.

“I understand that the Department of Defense will be attempting to secure a round of base realignment and closures as part of the National Defense Authorization Act,” Knabe said. “In Los Angeles County, defense industry contracts provide thousands of quality jobs with real benefits.”

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the department’s budget, proposed at $496 billion for 2015.

Knabe said he thought congressional support for base closures was unlikely, but said it was important to remind everyone of the importance of defense contracts to the economic health of the county and the rest of the state.

“Over the past 12 years, defense contracts have totaled close to $186 billion for our county’s economy and $880 billion across the state,” Knabe said.

The defense department last initiated a major set of reorganizations and closures in 2005 in an effort to reduce costs.

The department’s budget overview calls for a “robust national defense strategy” that it says “can only be achieved by the strategic balance of reforms and reductions that the department is presenting to Congress and will require Congress partnering with DOD in making politically difficult choices.”

A report by the House Committee on Armed Services dated May 13 noted that the Department of Defense requested the authority to conduct another round of closures in 2017. The committee asked for a report back in March 2015 on the effectiveness of such closures in cutting costs and proposed legislation prohibiting another round of closures.

 

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