Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, today requested a briefing from the U.S. Department of Defense on future proposals that could affect Massachusetts' military bases and defense industry.
"Massachusetts is the front line of our defense along the East Coast for the entire nation," Senator Kerry wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting the briefing on another possible Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC). "As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee I think a high level of communication will be critical in ensuring any BRAC process takes into account global events and security concerns."
The full text of Sen. Kerry's letter is below:
February 1, 2012
The Honorable Leon E. Panetta
Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Dear Secretary Panetta:
As you can imagine from your years in the House, there is great concern in Congress about the possibility or probability of another Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC).
Prior to the last BRAC round I worked closely with the Defense Department to ascertain their priorities and needs, which I believe resulted in a better understanding of Massachusetts assets. Additionally as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee I think a high level of communication will be critical in ensuring any BRAC process takes into account global events and security concerns. I therefore wanted to request a briefing from the Department on their plans for BRAC as soon as possible.
As you know, Massachusetts is the front line of our defense along the East Coast for the entire nation -- Hanscom Air Force Base is a critical asset in a strategic location. We also provide the Defense Department with top notch personnel and research facilities. Across the world our brave men and women in uniform are able to execute their missions at the highest level due to technologies and equipment conceptualized, researched, developed and often manufactured in our facilities. Natick Soldier Systems Center is an incredible resource that also leverages superior higher education and technical institutions in the Commonwealth to provide cutting edge advancements.
In addition to Hanscom and Natick, Massachusetts has four additional military installations, including the Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Fort Devens, Air Station Cape Cod, and Sector SE New England in Woodshole, which are key components to our military infrastructure. Due to these important facilities the defense industry has invested in Massachusetts, creating a hot bed for innovation.
Massachusetts provides essential defense but also represents an opportunity to expand on these high quality installations to better leverage resources. I look forward to working with you and your staff to strengthen these critical assets and our country. If you have any questions please contact John Phillips of my staff at 202-224-2742. I thank you for your consideration.
John F. Kerry