Utah's four military installations should not be hit hard by the next round of Pentagon-ordered base closings and operational consolidations, says U.S. Rep. James Hansen.
The Republican lawmaker predicted that Hill Air Force Base, Defense Depot-Ogden, Dugway Proving Ground and the Tooele Army Depot will be relatively immune to the next round of cutbacks.Utahns "would be foolish" to believe those bases will retain all their jobs and that other military installations nationwide will not close altogether, Hansen said.
After all, the Bush administration says it is going to reduce defense spending by 25 percent by 1995.
"Who in his right mind would think we could keep all the bases open?" Hansen asked during a speech Thursday to the Ogden Kiwanis Club.
But in Utah, he said, "We're really in good shape, and I wouldn't worry about them.
"We will see some effects from consolidations and some regionalization" of the Defense Logistics Agency, he said. But the six-term congressmen claimed no Utah bases would be closed as a result of recommendations a Pentagon committee is to deliver to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney by April 15.
During the first round of base closures, the Pentagon agreed to shut down active military operations at 86 bases, including Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City.
An example of the upcoming Utah losses, Hansen said, will be the Air Force retirement within the next two years of the F-4 Phantom II. The fleet of F-4s is maintained at Hill, along with the F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters and the C-130 Hercules cargo planes.
However, Hansen said he and other members of Utah's congressional delegation have been working to have maintenance for the new C-17 cargo plane headquartered at Hill. The C-17, which will be the largest U.S. cargo plane, now is in the development stage.
Defense Depot Ogden could see a reduction in its workload of "about 20 percent," Hansen said.