Defense Dept. Not Closing Domestic Military Bases


Domestic military base closures will not be on the table in 2013.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made that announcement on Monday, citing the poor economy as the reason.

However, he says the Pentagon's global infrastructure will eventually have to come down.

The agency had called for base closures as part of its 2013 budget.

Panetta says previous BRAC rounds are saving the defense department $8 billion a year.

He is, however, calling on Congress to avoid sequestration.

Panetta was in Niagara Falls, New York, Thursday.

He said he is committed to maintain the Air Base there.

Panetta who had accepted Representative Kathy Hochul's invitation to visit the air base back in March, said he will do everything he can to fight for the interest and maintain the base. He said the air base is geographically important to the country.

The Secretary of Defense also announced that they plan to make further investments in the base. He said they want to upgrade eight C-130 cargo planes. He said they plan to invest 6.1 million dollars for a C-130 flight simulator.

The air base is the largest employer in Niagara County, and home to the 914th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve and the 107th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard.

It was threatened with shutdown in 2005 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, but ultimately was spared.

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