03/16/05 — Eight members nominated to BRAC commission

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Eight members nominated to BRAC commission

By Wire
Published in News on March 16, 2005 1:48 PM

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., said Tuesday that North Carolina's military bases are an important to the nation's commitments around the world.

Her comments came during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the nomination of Anthony J. Principi to be chairman of BRAC, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

Meanwhile, President Bush nominated eight people with ties to defense to serve on the commission.

They were:

*James H. Bilbray of Nevada, a former Army reservist and a former congressman who served on international relations, armed services and intelligence committees.

*Philip Coyle of California, a senior adviser to the Center for Defense Information and a former assistant defense secretary.

*Harold W. Gehman Jr. of Virginia, a retired Navy admiral and former NATO supreme allied commander.

*James V. Hansen of Utah, a Navy veteran and former congressman who served on the armed services committee.

*James T. Hill of Florida, a retired Army general and former combatant commander of the U.S. Southern Command.

*Claude M. Kicklighter of Georgia, a retired Army lieutenant general and the assistant secretary for policy and planning at the Veterans Affairs Department.

*Samuel Knox Skinner of Illinois, a former Army reservist and one-time chief of staff and secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush.

*Sue Ellen Turner of Texas, a retired Air Force brigadier general who is a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Mrs. Dole, a Republican and North Carolina's senior senator, said at Principi's hearing that, "With our current world commitments, we must do everything possible to ensure that not one taxpayer dollar is wasted and that every resource and installation is essentially dedicated to keeping our military men and women safe and effective."

"This BRAC round must be, more than anything, untarnished by political influence. That being said, North Carolina supports a unique military infrastructure in that all of our major installations and training ranges are located in the eastern part of the state, creating an unrivaled region of military value."

Mrs. Dole said joint missions are the key to today's military operations and that the state's bases train together for such missions.

"The strong joint mission ties between Seymour Johnson and Pope Air Force bases, Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, to include the Naval Depot, are only a hint at the possibilities that exist for expansion, not closure," Mrs. Dole said.

Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, who heads the state's efforts to preserve military bases across North Carolina, said she was confident of success.

"Since the Department of Defense published its BRAC selection criteria early last year, the state of North Carolina, our local communities and our congressional delegation have been working hard to highlight the tremendous military value of our bases and NavAir Depot and the reasons why North Carolina deserves to be called the most military friendly state in the nation," Ms. Perdue said.

Congress authorized the fifth round of closures last year. If confirmed by the Senate, the commission will review a list of closures the Pentagon must propose by May.