Base Closures Dead, Local Leaders Can Concentrate On Fort Drum

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Fort Drum and other military post will not face another round of base closings anytime soon.

Key members of Congress have killed the Pentagon's request.

"The subcommittees that would be responsible for that have determined that they will not - I want to emphasize that - they will not include that in the Defense Appropriation Act," said Congressman Bill Owens (D. - 23rd District).

This doesn't mean the military isn't downsizing.

The Pentagon is planning to cut 100,000 soldiers and Marines. 

But many in Congress felt closing bases first was putting the cart before the horse.

"I think we need to let the services go through their own analyses, provide that analysis to Congress, and then determine how we're going to proceed from there," said Owens.

It's the Pentagon's own cutting that local leaders are watching, with an eye toward protecting the 19,000 soldiers at Fort Drum.

"The number could go up, the number could go down. We think we can support more mission," said Carl McLaughlin, executive director of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization. 

"We feel very confident the 10th Mountain Division will stay intact and it's quite possible it could even grow," said Owens.

Oddly enough, it's the cost of closing military bases that have helped kill another round of closures. 

Up-front costs are in the tens of billions of dollars.

The savings tend to be much farther down the road.

Friday, August 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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