Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) has convened a meeting of Missouri Members of Congress, representatives of the Governor's office, state legislators, military officials, business people, and other interested stakeholders to discuss proactive ways of addressing a possible new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and how to come together as a state to stand strong for our defense communities in Missouri.
"The Defense Department has requested two possible rounds of BRAC," said Hartzler. "As a representative of a district with two major military installations -- Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base -- I felt it was important to bring together interested parties from the Fourth District as well as from other regions of Missouri to discuss this possible decision and to formulate and advance a statewide effort to deal with it. I oppose a BRAC and will be opposing it in Congress, but I believe it behooves us to look forward and position ourselves positively as an entire state, should a BRAC occur."
"I shared with the attendees the discussion I had, last week, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, making him aware of my concerns regarding further cuts to military facilities across the country," continued Hartzler. "I reminded those taking part in the roundtable that the 2005 BRAC cost $39 billion and won't break even in cost savings until 2018. With our nation's limited defense dollars and emerging serious threats around the world, I told them now is not the time to subject our communities and our country to a lengthy BRAC process."
"The opportunity to bring together dozens of stakeholders to exchange thoughts and ideas on a possible BRAC was invaluable," added Hartzler. "National defense is a non-partisan issue and I appreciate the entire Missouri Congressional delegation's support, as well as the commitment from the Governor's office to work with us. As we formulate a statewide effort to promote Missouri's vital role in our nation's defense, Missouri will be in a better position to deal with a BRAC if that is the decision that is eventually made. A gathering of this kind can only be beneficial to communities and businesses that are adjacent to these important military facilities as well as the entire state as we speak with one unified voice. I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to all those who participated in today's event."
Congresswoman Hartzler represents Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood and serves on the House Armed Services Committee with subcommittee assignments of Readiness, Military Personnel, and Tactical Air and Land.