Feedback: Fort Drum Troop Strength Could Increase Under BRAC
North country Congressman Bill Owens says Fort Drum might actually benefit if there's another round of military base closures.
President Obama wants Congress to okay the process known as BRAC, or Base Realignment and Closure, in 2015.
Owens says there will be little support for it on Capitol Hill.
"I can tell you right off the top that that provision will not get my vote," said Owens (D. - 21st District).
On Wednesday, Obama sent Congress the proposed 2014 defense budget of $526.6 billion.
Is Fort Drum hurt under the spending plan?
"As best we can tell, the answer to that is 'no', but clearly, we haven't read the bill. We don't know the detail, if you will. We haven't had a chance to analyze it. We'll certainly be reaching out to the Army," said Owens.
The proposed budget calls for a BRAC round in 2015.
The actual closing of any bases would involve a multi-year process that would not start until 2016.
"I think and continue to believe that if the Army restructures, what we may see is that, in fact, an increase in troop strength at Fort Drum," said Owens.
If Fort Drum is included in future BRAC proceedings, Owens says he will fight to keep the post in tact.
"We want to make sure that Fort Drum is protected, both as a national security asset, but also as an economic driver in the Watertown area," he said.