Utah's Tooele Army Depot is probably safe from any major cutbacks under potential Defense budget cuts, Gen. Louis C. Wagner Jr., head of the Army Materiel Command, told Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, this week.

Hatch was Wagner's guest at breakfast at the command headquarters. Hatch said afterward that TAD is "solid and well-protected" because of its high productivity and available space.An aide to Hatch said the senator would like to see manpower floors at several other Army bases removed so that missions now at Tooele would be under even less likelihood of being moved elsewhere. Hatch said Wagner told him there was little possibility now that new work would be moved to Tooele and that a proposed shift of Troop Support Command missions to Utah from St. Louis was unlikely.

Hatch also promised Wagner he would support maintaining operation and maintenance funding for the Army at present levels.

Work at Dugway Proving Ground will likely increase in the future, Hatch said. Dugway will support U.S. chemical warfare defense work and testing of the 155mm nerve gas howitzer shell.

Dugway is also the site of training for a Ranger battalion of about 900 men, a mission that may become permanent, the Senator said.

Wagner suggested that artillery training exercises now done at Dugway by National Guard units should be moved to Camp Irwin, Calif., to end environmental damage they cause. The Irwin National Training Center, near Barstow, Calif., is more suited to such operations, according to Wagner.