Two More Bases Could Be Closed

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger testifies in support of California's bases to the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 14, 2005.
The Base Realignment and Closure commission voted Tuesday to add two military facilities, in California and Maine, to the list of hundreds of domestic bases that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has proposed closing and shrinking.

The Navy Broadway Complex in San Diego and the Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine, were added to the list of facilities to be closed. The commission also was voting on whether to add bases in nine other states and Washington, D.C.

The San Diego facility has headquarters for Navy operations in the Southwest, while the Brunswick air base is the last active-duty Defense Department airfield in New England and one of Maine's largest employers, with nearly 4,900 military and civilian workers.

Before voting on additions, Chairman Anthony Principi cautioned that adding a base to the list "does not necessarily mean that the base will be realigned or closed" but will simply allow the panel to further analyze those bases' usefulness.

"Our deliberations today may add more bases for further consideration, not because we have determined that we need to close more bases than the secretary of defense has recommended, but because we want to make sure the best possible closure or realignment choices are made," Principi said.

In a reprieve for California, the commission voted against putting the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on the closure list even though several commissioners had wanted to consider merging it with the service's other recruiting facility in Parris Island, S.C.

The Naval Shipyard at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii also was saved, although by a slim margin. The vote was five in favor of adding it to the list and four against adding it. However, seven commissioners had to vote in the affirmative for it to be added.