Congressmen schedule base closing meeting in Virginia

Reps. Tom Davis, R-Va., and Jim Moran, D-Va., will host the June 20 town hall meeting in state where recommendation is to move thousands of workers.

Two senior congressmen will hold a town hall meeting in northern Virginia next week to discuss the base closure and realignment process.

House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., and Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., will host the event, according to Moran's office. Last month, Defense Department officials proposed closing 33 major facilities nationwide, realigning 29 others, and closing or realigning hundreds of smaller military locations. The Pentagon recommended moving more than 20,000 employees out of leased office space in northern Virginia and moving 18,000 workers to Ft. Belvoir, about 20 miles south.

Local government officials and congressmen have expressed concerns about traffic patterns, road capacity and potential economic hardships.

Overall, the state will lose about 1,500 Defense employees. Nationwide, the Defense Department will reduce its workforce by more than 18,000 civilians.

The Pentagon facility recommendations have been sent to the nine-member BRAC commission, and that panel will pass its proposals to President Bush by Sept. 8. The president and Congress are required to accept or reject the base closures and realignments in their entirety.

"Clearly it's a huge issue for northern Virginia, as it is for many places," said Davis spokesman Rob White.

The town hall will be held June 20 at George Mason University's law school in Arlington at noon. It also will feature former Army undersecretary Joe R. Reeder, who is the co-chairman of the Virginia Commission on Military Bases. That group was established by Virginia Gov. Mark Warner to support the state's military facilities and communities through the BRAC process.