May 13, 2005
Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) made the following statement concerning the announcement from the Pentagon on the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC):
“Today, the Pentagon released the results of the BRAC Commission and announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) will be undertaking an unprecedented initiative in Washington State by creating joint-base Lewis-McChord. As a result, installation management functions will be consolidated at Fort Lewis. According to the Defense Department estimates, as a result of this action, the economic impact will be limited to .2 percent of the economic area employment. The Pentagon has said the primary rationale for this recommendation is to promote jointness and reduce excess capacity. Also, the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center in Tacoma, Washington will be closed with a resulting 20 members of the military being transferred to other locations. I will be working closely with leaders in the community to ease the transition as a result of this decision.
The BRAC Commission has recognized the fact that the Northwest is home to military assets with joint capability that are flexible, are prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice, and are located in a strategic region with easy access to the Pacific Theater.
As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked closely on force structure issues, and I’m proud to represent thousands of military servicemen and women and their families. Those stationed in Washington State have been a central component in the War on Terrorism and the war in Iraq. Over 6,000 active-duty troops based at Fort Lewis along with almost 4,000 National Guardsmen from the State have fought in Iraq. Also, over 2000 Washington State based airmen and women have been involved in air refueling and transport operations in Iraq. Additionally, sailors stationed in Everett aboard the USS Lincoln, and airmen at McChord Air Force Base, both active-duty and reserve, aided in recovery efforts in helping out the South Asian tsunami victims. Washington State is ideally located for a number of contingencies.
Today’s decision is a testament not only to the flexibility and jointness of the military forces in Washington State, but to the hardworking community leaders that have done so much to make the military an integral part of the fabric of our communities and our everyday lives.
I am proud of the work our servicemen and women do across the United States. In the coming weeks, we will be learning more details about troop movements and realignments and their impact on our community. I, along with my Congressional colleagues, will be focusing on this issue and I look forward to working with communities in my own District and across the State in ensuring that our military servicemen and women get the resources that they need as well as the communities that will be affected by any realignments.”