Rumsfeld continues push for base closings

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made another strong appeal for additional military base closures Monday, telling the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, "We're going to be coming at you on base closing."

Rumsfeld said asking to close more bases "is the last thing I want to do.... It makes people unhappy. But we have to do it."

Repeating his declaration that the armed services had 20-25 percent unnecessary bases, the Pentagon chief said, "We simply cannot be carrying that."

No panel member openly opposed Rumsfeld's call for another base closing round. But Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif., urged the Pentagon to provide a firm list of vulnerable bases, "so we all don't have to hire lobbyists."

Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Lewis, R- Calif., cautioned Rumsfeld not to count on incremental or advanced funding to solve the problem of too few Navy ships being built each year.

The shipbuilders and Navy officials have requested permission to use partial funding for ships--instead of full funding the year a ship is authorized--to allow more warships to be built within a tight budget.

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