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Head of BRAC Visits Ellington Air Force Base

Local lawmakers and city officials are urging the federal government to maintain current operations at Ellington Air Force Base. The head of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission visited the base to discuss how Houston plays into homeland security issues. While hundreds of people responded to the terror attacks in London, local officials reminded the […]

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Local lawmakers and city officials are urging the federal government to maintain current operations at Ellington Air Force Base. The head of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission visited the base to discuss how Houston plays into homeland security issues.

While hundreds of people responded to the terror attacks in London, local officials reminded the BRAC Commission of the ongoing threat to the Houston area. Houston is the only U.S. city to meet all nine FBI criteria for a terror attack. Congressman Tom Delay led a delegation of people in a request for commissioners to reconsider their recommendation to close the 147th fighter wing of the Texas Air National Guard.

The 147th fighter wing consists of 15 F-16 jets, the BRAC has recommended those planes be retired by 2007. Two jets would remain at Ellington Field to maintain air sovereignty with backup support coming from Louisiana. Houston Mayor Bill White told BRAC Commissioner Jim Hansen that the Department of Defense made errors when they calculated the military importance of the 147th.

The Ellington Field Task Force, along with the mayor and congressman are asking the BRAC Commission to reverse their current recommendation and even to bolster the base with more defenses. BRAC Commissioner Jim Hansen says he’s not in a position to make a recommendation, but he now realizes homeland defense in Houston has an effect on the entire country.

The final BRAC hearing is scheduled for Monday in San Antonio. The commission must submit it’s final report to President Bush by September 8th. The president can then accept or reject the recommendations in their entirety.