The Obama administration is proposing another BRACC-style base closings process to downsize the US military. And while there’s no evidence yet that Fort Drum near Watertown would be a target, the proposal is already drawing fierce condemnation from Rep Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh).
Owens tells NCPR he was assured by the Pentagon that no base-closing initiative was being planned:
“The last time we asked it was about thirty days ago, we we’re told it’s absolutely not on the radar. So, I’m not happy about htat as you can imagine. To say the least, I’m really annoyed by this. I think it was done really unprofessionally.”
Owens, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, is himself a former Air Force officer who lived in Plattsburgh when the last major “BRACC” base-closure process torpedoed Plattsburgh Air Force Base.
Many locals, including Owens, thought that process was unfair and politicized.
“It was supposed to be non-political. But it was very clear that the person who was the head of the BRACC commission was from New Jersey and, miraculously, that Air Force base was saved. It really raised some very substantial questions in my mind about the fairness of the process and whether or not it was done on the up and up.”
Owens says he doubts that closing military bases will achieve substantial cost savings, as the Pentagon has promised. The congressman says he wants to see a plan for better efficiency first, before a major round of reductions is considered.