THE DAILY FED
Cohen to Close Bases
Defense Secretary William Cohen will seek two additional rounds of base closings in the next four years to free up money for weapons purchases, the Associated Press reports.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said that the four previous rounds of base closings, during which 97 major bases were closed, saved a total of $14 billion. But the department's base support structure has been reduced by only 18 percent, compared with a 33 percent reduction in military personnel.
"Reductions in base infrastructure have not kept up" with reductions in personnel and other areas, Bacon said.
Bacon acknowledged that additional base closings may face opposition on Capitol Hill because lawmakers' constituents usually oppose base shutdowns in their areas.
"Congress will have to go through the same choices that the military faced" and decide between keeping bases open and modernizing weapons systems, Bacon said.
The next base closing rounds would be slated for 1999 and 2001, a Defense Department source told AP.
The drawdown plan is part of the Quadrennial Defense Review, a comprehensive study of the military the Pentagon will release in the next couple weeks. The review may also call for at least 50,000 troops to be cut as the department attempts to maintain its weapons budget by cutting back in other areas.