SOURCE: League of California Cities

March 16, 2005 20:43 ET

League of California Cities Joined by California Congressional Delegation in Urging Retention of Military Bases

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 16, 2005 -- With the Secretary of Defense set to publish his list of recommended military Base Realignments and Closures (BRAC) on May 16 of this year, the League of California Cities announced today that it has joined forces with the California Congressional Delegation to support the retention of California's military bases.

California city officials and state representatives met today with California congressional representatives David Dreier, Sam Farr, Jane Harman, Ellen Tauscher, Susan Davis, Wally Herger and Barbara Lee to establish a united front on the military base closure issue. California cities also had the opportunity to meet with top-level Department of Defense officials to discuss California's unique military assets. The city officials have been meeting with their congressional representatives in Washington, D.C., as part of the National League of Cities' annual Congressional City Conference.

Numerous California cities have been affected by the last four BRAC rounds, with 29 base closures or realignments affecting a loss of over 99,000 jobs and nearly $10 billion in annual state revenues.

"California is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the military's future force, especially as our national security focus moves away from Europe and more towards Asia and the Pacific," said Congressman David Dreier. "The California Congressional Delegation is proud to work with the League of California Cities for a positive outcome in this BRAC round."

"Realigning or closing commands like the Space and Missile Systems Center at the Los Angeles Air Force Base would undercut critical programs that give our soldiers the intelligence and communications tools they need to succeed," said Congresswoman Jane Harman. "This is a risk we cannot afford to take."

"California's communities should be smart, not scared, in the face of the coming BRAC," said Congressman Sam Farr. "Get to know your military assets backwards and forwards, understand how they're linked to local assets and work to boost those linkages."

He added: "The city of Monterey was able to cut local operating costs for the military by $41 million by contracting to provide the base's municipal services. Ingenuity is the best defense."

League President Pat Eklund, Councilmember in the city of Novato, said of the need to retain California's 62 remaining military installations, "Our state has been at the forefront of nearly all military activity for many years, from training to technological development. We believe we can continue to be a strong contributor to our nation's defense, and we strongly urge the Department of Defense to carefully consider any further base closures in California."

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