Base closures: Another warning
Aug. 19, 2001
A warning signal flashed through Mississippi the other day as reports began to circulate that the Pentagon was considering consolidating military training missions in the country's interior. States such as North Dakota could benefit from such a move and states such as Mississippi, with training installations such as NAS Meridian, could suffer the consequences.
The Bush Administration, with precious little support from Congress, is proceeding with such a base closure proposal that could could bring back a time of anxiety in this community, where the Navy base is the largest single employer. One lobbyist already paid $200,000 a year by the state to support the state's military interests in Washington said every community may want to hire their own lobbyist, too.
While preparations for a proposed round of base closures in 2003 have been on-going, it's getting to the point where our elected officials in Washington must become more aggressive on the subject. Sen. Trent Lott has weighed in, but the loss of his Senate majority may influence what he personally can accomplish.
Ultimately, if such a round of closings does come, it will be up the the affected communities themselves to show why they should be exempt. Meridian has made an excellent case so far that NAS is an invaluable piece of our country's military readiness program. That task will be more complicated if training missions become the Pentagon's primary target.
All the more reason why the community must pull together in support of NAS Meridian.