New England senators exploded Thursday over a new Pentagon proposal to close more military facilities nationwide and vowed to fight any effort to shut down bases from Maine to Connecticut, according to a report in the Boston Globe
The new proposal to create another Base Realignment and Closure Commission that would compile a new list of possible shut-down targets was unveiled Thursday in addition to the Obama administration’s plan to trim $487 billion over the next decade from projected defense spending.
A bipartisan group of senators led by Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, immediately criticized the proposal as too expensive to implement.
They also insisted that that New England facilities that might be targeted, especially Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., are vital to the local economies and the nation’s security.
“Having only last fall completed the implementation of the 2005 [base commission’s recommendations] it is abundantly clear that the costs . . . were far greater than predicted and that the annual savings were far smaller than expected,’’ The Globe quoted the senators as saying in a joint statement.
The newspaper said they also cited a Government Accountability Office report showing that previous base closings ended up costing about $35 billion.
The Globe also noted that Connecticut’s congressional delegation declared the Pentagon proposal “dead on arrival” on Capitol Hill.
In addition, the newspaper reported that delegation members from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have already met with local business leaders to begin crafting a strategy for saving Hanscom and other possible closure targets.
“This is a team fight,’’ Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown told the newspaper.
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