Saturday, December 7, 2013
WASHINGTON – The news organization Politico has listed Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery among the facilities “most at risk” nationwide if Congress initiated another round of military base closures.
But if early reaction on Capitol Hill to the Obama administration’s closure proposal is any indication, the folks at the Kittery shipyard may be spared that stress for at least a little while.
Politico included the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in an article -- found here -- listing military bases likely to be targeted during another Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC. The others were Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut, Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, Ellsworth Air Force Base in Kansas and Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.
The Obama administration included another BRAC round in its most recent budget proposal. The administration’s proposal does not list any specific facilities, however, and many members of Congress appear uninterested in starting another round of the politically unpopular cutbacks.
As we reported here last week, members of the Maine and New Hampshire congressional delegations have already launched a pre-emptive strike against another BRAC process and any talk of shuttering the Kittery submarine maintenance and repair facility. Portsmouth, which employs roughly 4,700 people, was recommended for closure in 2005 but was eventually dropped from the list.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins and New Hampshire Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen are all on record opposing another BRAC round. And Shaheen and Ayotte serve as chairman and ranking Republican, respectively, on the Senate Armed Services subcommittee that would oversee the BRAC process.
“Until it is clear that the savings from the 2005 BRAC have fully materialized and [Department of Defense] provides Congress its overdue clean financial audit and demonstrates that further base closures would not damage our national defense posture, I will strongly oppose another BRAC round,” Collins said last week.
Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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