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Public Statements

Letter to Leon E. Panetta, Secretary of Defense

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Van Nuys, CA

This week, Congressman Howard L. Berman urged Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to preserve the Los Angeles Air Force Base (LAAFB) and its Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) as his Department initiated an effort to consolidate our defense infrastructure. Joined by Representatives Henry Waxman and Janice Hahn, Berman sent a letter to Secretary Panetta highlighting the strategic and economic importance of the Los Angeles County bases following his request that Congress begin a new round of military base realignments.

"In light of the Defense Department's request for a new round of military base realignments beginning in FY 2013, we write to strongly urge that the Los Angeles Air Force Base (LAAFB) and its Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) be retained without any reductions," wrote Berman, Waxman and Hahn in their letter.

"While California has long been a leader in aerospace, a major factor for its continued presence in the state is LAAFB and SMC and the $9 billion in annual contracts issued for space and missile requirements of the Department," the letter continued. "As you weigh the further consolidation of our defense infrastructure, I urge you to carefully consider the important national security mission of LAAFB and its SMC, as well as the thousands of workers whose jobs are tied to these facilities through our aerospace companies."

The Pentagon's proposed base realignment and closure rounds for 2013 and 2015 would follow the same process as past rounds according to draft legislation recently sent to Congress by the Defense Department.

The 37-page legislative proposal signals that the Pentagon wants the next round of military base realignment and closures, or BRAC, to model the process of the ones that took place during the 1990s, and more recently in 2005. If adopted, the Pentagon would release its list of proposed closures and realignments for the first of the two rounds by May 17, 2013. The plan would be reviewed by a nine-member BRAC panel -- nominated by the president with input from congressional leaders and confirmed by the Senate -- that would then submit its own final report to the White House by Oct. 1.

Full text of the letter is below and a signed copy attached:

The Honorable Leon Panetta
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon

Dear Secretary Panetta:

In light of the Defense Department's request for a new round of military base realignments beginning in FY 2013, we write to strongly urge that the Los Angeles Air Force Base (LAAFB) and its Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) be retained without any reductions.

California is home to fully half of the nation's aerospace sector and one-quarter of the global aerospace industry. A majority of state's aerospace industry is located in Los Angeles County, where hundreds of companies -- from large aerospace firms to small machine shops -- have attracted a highly-educated and specialized workforce, comprising about 250,000 people.

While California has long been a leader in aerospace, a major factor for its continued presence in the state is LAAFB and SMC and the $9 billion in annual contracts issued for space and missile requirements of the Department and other federal agencies. The economic reach of LAAFB and SMC extends throughout the Los Angeles area, including the San Fernando Valley, and to other parts of Southern California.

One of SMC's critical missions is to manage the development and launch of satellites for a variety of national security programs. To perform that mission, it is vital that SMC remain in close proximity to other federal aerospace facilities, including the launch facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as to the industrial and scientific infrastructure and workforce that are specifically configured to support the Center's critical national security role.

As you weigh the further consolidation of our defense infrastructure, I urge you to carefully consider the important national security mission of LAAFB and its SMC, as well as the thousands of workers whose jobs are tied to these facilities through our aerospace companies. I look forward to discussing this critically important matter with you.

Sincerely,

Howard L. Berman
Henry A. Waxman
Janice Hahn


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