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Statement by Senator Kennedy on BRAC Commission's Decision Regarding Hanscom Air Force Base

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KENNEDY ON BRAC COMMISSION'S DECISION REGARDING HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE

We won this battle on May 13, when the Pentagon decided not to close Hanscom, saving 30,000 jobs in Massachusetts, and instead saw the immense potential for growth. The Pentagon's proposal was a confirmation of the value of our technology intellectual capital. It's unfortunate that the Pentagon misclassified the jobs in their recommendation, making it difficult for the commissioners to endorse additional new jobs at Hanscom. Even though the commission did not approve the additional new jobs at Hanscom, they did recognize that it would be appropriate to send additional research and development jobs to Hanscom, and would allow the Defense Department to do so outside of the BRAC process.

Before the Pentagon's recommendations were announced, many believed that Hanscom and Natick were on the chopping block. But we knew that they are strong assets to our nation's defense. Hanscom's technology has greatly improved our military's response time, reducing the time it takes to identify and strike a target from 72 hours to 20 minutes.

Natick Soldier Center is also crucial to our national security and a contributor to this defense cluster. Natick produces the tools that the soldier will need in the future, including smaller and lighter gear and better communications. Massachusetts has expertise in the areas that are necessary to make these improvements, like nanotechnology, sensors, medical research, wireless networking, and next generation textiles.

We made the case that this kind of intellectual expertise is no accident. It comes from Hanscom and Natick's unique location in the heart of the nation's pre-eminent defense technology cluster. It's the interaction between the best of the nation's academia and industry that produces these results. The commission recognizes the value of preserving intellectual capital, and the strength that we have in Massachusetts.

Throughout our BRAC efforts, the Pentagon was very supportive of the work at Hanscom. It remains the nation's pre-eminent C4ISR center, and nothing in the Commission's recommendations change that. This area will only continue to grow, and Hanscom is a critical part of that growth. We're committed to working with Pentagon to support new mission at Hanscom in the years to come.

http://kennedy.senate.gov/~kennedy/statements/05/08/2005825A46.html

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