Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) sent a letter to Anthony Principi, the Chairman of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Smith’s letter urges full and careful consideration of the issues surrounding the Joint Base Lewis-McChord proposal and the projected reduction in jobs affiliated with McChord Air Force Base (AFB). Smith, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, is seeking to draw attention to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last week that highlights questions concerning the Joint Basing concept. The entire letter is pasted below.

 July 5th, 2005

Mr. Anthony Principi


2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission
2521 S. Clark St., Ste. 600
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Chairman Principi,

 Thank you again for your continued leadership on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.  I commend you and your fellow commissioners on undertaking this difficult task that is so critical for the future of our nation’s military.

I write to you today, once again, to call your attention to concerns surrounding the Pentagon’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord proposal and the projected reduction in jobs affiliated with McChord AFB.  Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the Defense Department’s BRAC recommendations that reiterated the concerns that my fellow Washington State Congressional Delegation Members and I have expressed in a letter to you regarding the implementation of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord proposal.  These concerns are shared by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and others.

The GAO report, entitled “Military Bases: Analysis of DoD’s 2005 Selection Process and Recommendations for Base Closures and Realignments,” warns of the challenges ahead with the implementation of the Pentagon’s joint base concept.  Based upon visits to both McChord AFB and Ft. Lewis and discussions with base officials about the joint proposal, the GAO concluded that “concerns over obstacles such as seeking efficiencies at the expense of the mission, could jeopardize a smooth and successful implementation of the recommendation” (p. 29).  The report goes on to site the Air Force’s concerns that “most military personnel at McChord are mission critical and deployable, increasing the difficulty to identify possible Air Force military personnel reductions” (p. 161). 

Furthermore, in assessing the McChord-Ft. Lewis plan and other Department of Defense joint basing proposals, the GAO report reiterated its conclusion from a June 2005 GAO report that called into question the Pentagon’s ability to accurately forecast the true personnel needs associated with joint basing initiatives.  The report states that “DoD and the military services’ ability to forecast base operations support requirements and funding needs has been hindered by the lack of a common terminology for defining base support functions, as well as by the lack of a mature analytic process for developing base support requirements” (p. 161-2).

 I urge you to take special note of the GAO’s conclusions as you assess the Pentagon’s McChord-Ft. Lewis proposal, particularly as they relate to the DoD’s job loss projections at McChord AFB.  While I am not opposed to the Pentagon’s efforts to better leverage local assets and improve efficiency through joint basing, I believe the BRAC Commission and Congress must carefully scrutinize the DoD’s recommendations in order to ensure that military readiness is not compromised.  With that in mind, I look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming months to implement the current BRAC round.




Member of Congress

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) voted for H.R. 3057, the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for FY 2006. While not perfect, the bill increases funding to combat HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria and increases funds for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) and humanitarian relief efforts in Sudan.

“Global poverty is a destabilizing force with moral, humanitarian, economic and security consequences,” said Smith. “I’m pleased that this bill provides $2.7 billion to combat HIV infection, TB and malaria, a 23% increase over the current spending level. These diseases are devastating generations of people throughout the world and we have the resources to help combat these deadly diseases. I’m pleased that we are increasing the funding levels, but a great deal more remains to be done.”

Overall, the United States has contributed well over half of all international funds for global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

Smith also noted, “I was pleased to see that funding levels for the MCA were increased over current spending levels, but was disappointed that the House budget allocation for the Foreign Operations subcommittee was so low that providing more funding was not possible.”

The bill provides $1.75 billion for the MCA, which is $272 million more than the current level. The MCA grants assistance to countries that meet certain standards, including attacking corruption, respecting human rights, adhering to the rule of law, investing in health and education, encouraging economic freedom and maintaining sound budget policies.

“We have a long way to go in the United States in combating global poverty,” Smith continued. “With the upcoming G8 summit focusing on global poverty, particularly in Africa, I will soon be introducing a bill in the House of Representatives that calls on the Bush Administration to make a firm commitment to fighting global poverty and come up with a concrete plan to address this issue. We have a moral obligation to help those around the world who face dire poverty on a daily basis.  We can help and the time is now to fight global poverty before it drives millions of people into desperation and into the hands of extremist organizations like the al Qaeda network.”

Smith has been deeply focused on the issue of global poverty and in March, 2005 he participated in the Trade and Poverty Forum in Nagoya, Japan.  The forum brought together leaders from the business, political and NGO communities to develop strategies for combating poverty.  Smith understands that our nation must make a greater commitment to poverty alleviation and view these efforts as an investment that can foster global stability and security, build alliances throughout the world and reduce the sense of hopelessness for billions of people.  He is committed to helping marshal the political and social will to address global poverty.


U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) voted today in favor of an amendment that will restore funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which supports programming such as the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). More than 82 million people watch PBS a week and more than 70% of American households watch PBS at least once per month. On top of this, over 30 million people a week listen to NPR.

“PBS is an important part of many Americans’ lives,” said Smith. “From Sesame Street to Morning Edition to American Experience, many people around the country rely on public broadcasting for news and educational entertainment for their children. PBS is a vital cultural component for this country and I was pleased to see that the funding for the CPB was restored.”

The amendment passed in the House 284 to 140.

“I will continue my efforts to ensure that this funding is included in the final version of the bill,” said Smith. ”It is too important to fall victim to partisan politics.”

The Senate will soon take up its version of the Labor/HHS Appropriations bill and, further down the line, conference with the House version. It is expected that funding for CPB will be restored.


"I am pleased that H.R. 2863, the Fiscal Year 2006 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill, passed the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).  “As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am particularly focused on national security policy and am proud to support legislation that funds our defense missions and will support the servicemen and women of our Armed Forces and our Veterans.”

The bill appropriates $408.9 billion, including $45.3 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Included in the bill are earmarks that will specifically affect the members of our military in the Puget Sound region, including:


Specifically, the Authorization Bill included the following provisions that directly affect units in the Puget Sound region:

$30 million in school impact aid for schools nationwide (including schools in the Puget Sound area):

The Education Department’s Impact Aid program provides supplementary funds to school districts nationwide to support the education of nearly 600,000 children of servicemen and women. This bill allocates $30 million in Defense Department funding for impact aid spending in FY 2006.

$30 million for “Up-Armored HMMWV and Tactical Truck Crew Trainers”

This top priority of the Washington Army National Guard will allow soldiers to train for convoy operations in humvees and other tactical trucks, a critical need for soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq.

$964.1 million to fully fund President Bush’s request for the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA)

This critical program would adapt and upgrade Boeing 737s, in Boeing’s Renton plant, in order to conduct defense and homeland security-related missions. The MMA will replace the aging fleet of Navy P-3C aircraft with a technologically superior mission system that will allow it to perform anti-submarine warfare missions, homeland security surveillance and other important functions.

$4.5 million for M-65 Bismaleimide Carbon Fiber Prepeg development for Automated Placement Machines

This funding would go towards qualifying an improved carbon fiber tape technology used to process large, high quality aircraft structures. This technology, developed by Hexcel Structures, a company with manufacturing facilities in Kent, WA, will be used to more efficiently manufacture the military’s F-35 and F-22 aircraft.

$3 million for Mounted Warrior Nomad Command: Control Head Up Display (C2HUD)

For use by the Stryker Brigades stationed at Fort Lewis, the C2HUD, an integral part of the Mounted Warrior system, will increase force protection and unit lethality by providing the combat crewman’s situational awareness link to the vehicle’s command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems remotely via secure, encrypted means.  The head up display will operate in all soldier mission areas, employing information management systems, operations planning, situational awareness, terrain navigation, long range sensors, target acquisition, and identification systems while mounted, dismounted and at platform crew stations. The system also has significant potential for commercial spin off for the technology and is designed by Microvision, a Puget Sound-based company.


“Having worked for many years to improve our military and the Pentagon through the use of technology, I am pleased that this bill also included my provision for the National Defense University (NDU) Technology Pilot program,” said Smith. “I have long supported this important program and am proud to work with the experts at NDU who are continuing to leverage our technological innovations to maintain the most advanced military in the world."

$1 million for the NDU Technology Pilot Program

The purpose of this project is to conduct research and analysis to determine how the United States can maintain its competitive edge against other military adversaries at a time when commercial information technology (IT) is readily available on the global market. Through a series of workshops, conferences, research papers and publications, the NDU has developed new strategies to deal with this issue.

$4.5 million for the Green/Infrared Illumination Pointing Laser (GRI2P)

This top priority of the U.S. Special Forces Command will give our special forces access to a new combat laser system designed for operations that require either a green or infrared based long-range laser system.  This advanced technology, developed by B.E. Meyers in Redmond, WA, will help our special forces perform successfully in a broader range of missions.

$5 million for the Biomarker Molecular Toxicology Initiative

This funding will support highly advanced molecular biology research at the Institute for System Biology in Seattle.  This research will help the military understand why certain humans are more or less susceptible to certain illnesses such as those resulting from exposure to chemical or biological toxins.  


More broadly, the bill appropriates $45.3 billion as a “bridge fund” for the first six months of FY 2006 for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism. Within these funds, this includes $32.2 billion for operations and maintenance accounts, including $1.7 billion for added fuel costs and extra funds for body armor and $147 million for Army National Guard Recruting. The measure also contains $2.9 billion for various procurement accounts, including $170 million for up-armored Humvees, $20 million for bolt-on armor kits for trucks and $35 million for roadside bomb jammers. Finally, the bill provides $8 billion in extra funding for military personnel accounts, including $6.8 billion for incremental wartime costs of pays and allowances for Active Duty and Reserve personnel, $735 million for recruting and retention and $231 million for an expanded death gratuity.


Overall, the bill provides a 3.1% pay raise for members of the Armed Forces and increases amounts paid for active duty enlistments, reserve enlistments and active-duty re-enlistments.


ssion, including Chairman Anthony Principi, James Bilbray, Philip Coyle and James Hansen are meeting in Portland, Oregon today to conduct a regional BRAC hearing where concerns and questions are raised about the BRAC implementation process. Mr. David Graybill, President and CEO of the Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and a Member of the Tacoma/Pierce County BRAC Citizen’s Task Force, is submitting the letter on behalf of the Members of Congress.

“BRAC is one component of the Pentagon’s effort to ensure that our military is the best and most effective fighting force in the world,” said Smith, an honorary Co-Chair of the Tacoma/Pierce County BRAC Citizen’s Task Force. “That being said, I have several concerns that I would like the BRAC commission to consider and address, including the impact on the reduction of personnel at McChord AFB.”

The entire text of the letter is below.

Mr. Anthony Principi


2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission
2521 S. Clark St., Ste. 600
Arlington, VA 22202


Dear Chairman Principi,

First, we would like to thank you for your work on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.  The difficult task that you and the Commission members are undertaking is critical for the future of our nation’s military.  We appreciate your willingness to serve our nation in this capacity.

We believe that the Defense Secretary’s BRAC recommendations largely recognize the important military assets we have in the Northwest.  Our distinctive geography, unique military assets and dedicated servicemen and servicewomen, combine to position Northwest facilities as highly valuable for our nation’s security.

However, we have some questions and concerns about the implementation of the proposed Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the proposed reduction in jobs affiliated with McChord AFB.  While we applaud the Department of Defense’s willingness to better leverage local assets and improve efficiency through joint basing, the lack of detailed information about the proposal has made it difficult to truly evaluate the merits of this proposal.

As the Commission considers the Defense Department’s proposals, we urge you to seek clarification on a number of critical points:

What is the correct number of position cuts at McChord AFB?  As you are aware, on May 13, 2005, the Department of Defense released its list of proposed closures and realignments of military installations.  That list proposed 567 positions at McChord Air Force Base (424 military billets, 136 civilian positions and 7 net mission contractors).  Recently, however, Senator Maria Cantwell received an e-mail from the Air Force listing the job reductions related to realignment at McChord as 629.  Clarification is needed as to what the actual recommended number of job reductions related to McChord within the joint-basing initiative is.

How was this number derived?  What functions are recommended to be combined and what is the basis for expected efficiencies?  Which jobs specifically are recommended for elimination?  To date, we have been unable to learn how the Defense Department developed this job reduction proposal.  We have spoken with the commanders of both Fort Lewis and McChord AFB, as well as members of Air Mobility Command, none of whom have a sense of how this figure was derived.  The figure appears to be driven entirely by a small number of individuals within the Pentagon, making it difficult to evaluate the process by which the figure was developed.

We have also been unable to obtain clarification as to which positions would be eliminated under joint basing.  Without clarification on this point, it is impossible to determine the merits of the Department’s joint basing proposal, especially in terms of its impact on mission readiness.

What is the impact of the proposed job reduction on mission readiness?  As noted above, it is difficult to answer this question without clarification on how the job reduction number was derived or which positions are proposed for elimination.  However, it is worth noting that the proposed cuts at McChord have the potential of affecting not only the administration of the base, but also the administration of the 62nd Airlift Wing’s mission.  As you may know, the Army maintains two separate command structures at neighboring Ft. Lewis: a garrison command for oversight of the base and its functions, and a mission command for oversight over the units deployed from the base.  The Air Force, on the other hand, combines both garrison command and mission command within the same structure at McChord AFB: the 62nd Airlift Wing.  Cuts in the administration of the base may have the unintended consequence of cutting into the administration of the air mobility mission of the Wing.  While local Air Force personnel agree that some efficiencies might be achieved through jointness (such as in the area of contracting), they have also informed me that given the high operations tempo at McChord AFB, they do not know how 567 positions can be eliminated at McChord AFB without affecting their ability to carry out their mission.

With these questions in mind, we respectfully request that you carefully examine the Joint Base Lewis-McChord proposal and its impact on the air mobility mission.  Like the Commission, we want to ensure that our nation is well positioned to protect itself from external threats and that its Armed Forces have the appropriate manpower they need to fulfill their mission.  We look forward to working with you to implement the current base realignment and closure round to ensure the improved security of the United States.



 PATTY MURRAY                                                                  MARIA CANTWELL

United States Senator                                                               United States Senator


NORM DICKS                                                                       ADAM SMITH

Member of Congress                                                                Member of Congress