Congress Needs To Drop The NIMBY Attitude About Military Base Closures
North Dakota’s congressional delegation (Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven along with Rep. Rick Berg), like pretty much every member of Congress representing states/districts with military bases in them, is reacting to the announcement of a new base closings with a predictable “not in my back yard” attitude. Everybody wants spending cuts, but nobody wants their particular ox to be gored.
What I found particularly interesting, though, were these comments from Senator John Hoeven in the Grand Forks Herald:
…Republican Sen. John Hoeven said the proposal for a new BRAC round has earned the opposition of Senate Armed Services Committee leaders, including Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., who would be tasked with drawing up the Senate’s bill.
“I don’t support it, and I don’t think Congress is going to support another round of BRAC,” Hoeven said. “Obviously we are going to have to find savings as part of getting the deficit and debt under control. But we have to be committed to a very strong defense.”
He said Grand Forks Air Force Base needs to “keep doing the things that we’re working very hard to do,” including growing its new unmanned aerial systems missions and continuing to court a new tanker mission, to be ready to withstand another possible BRAC round.
Put another way, Senator Hoeven believes that we need to keep porking up North Dakota’s military bases, because the more programs and spending going on at these bases, the less likely it is they’ll be closed.
Which, again, isn’t all that unusual an attitude among members of Congress, but it is a very unhealthy attitude for the state of America’s budget and our national security.
The first, and only, priority of military bases should be national security. That’s it. We shouldn’t build military bases for the purposes of economic stimulus, nor should bases that are not contributing to our national security be kept up just because a few influential members of Congress don’t want it closed.
I’m glad North Dakota has its military bases. These bases bring great people into our communities, and admittedly the commerce they bring with them enriches our communities as well. But, again, economic arguments aren’t good enough to keep these bases open.
If they’re strategically important, that’s one thing, but if they’re little more than landing pads for pork spending and make-work projects then they should be closed.
Oh, and by the way, I still think the Air Force should be shut down and absorbed by our other branches of military.Tags: air force, base closings, brac, John Hoeven, Kent Conrad, Military, North Dakota News