Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pentagon's Top Soldier Backs Base Closings

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pentagon's Top Soldier Backs Base Closings

Article excerpt

While extremely unpopular on Capitol Hill, more military base closings are necessary if the U.S. military is to continue funding for weapons modernization, says Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Shalikashvili told a press conference Wednesday at Scott Air Force Base, near Belleville, that it is much too early to judge which bases would be closed and whether Scott would be included.

But Shalikashvili clearly indicated that Scott was a highly valuable command center that has been modernized in recent years. The 80-year-old Scott Air Force Base is the largest single military facility in the St. Louis area. The base employs some 9,300 military and civilian personnel with a local economic impact of $1.3 billion a year. Shalikashvili said that after the first four rounds of base reductions, the nation has 20 percent fewer bases. But the downsized military has 30 percent fewer men and women, "so we are worse off today than the day we started," he said. …

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