There is more talk out of Washington about base closures. Pentagon officials says its all about saving money. The Pentagon estimates there are 25-percent more bases than whats needed. By consolidating, three and a half billion dollars a year could be saved.
Senator Trent Lott agrees the country has too many military installations, but says it would be unlikely the military would diminish the part bases on the Coast play, since a base like Keesler is actually playing a more vital military role than ever before. According to Lott, " We have continued in a number of ways to improve the ability of that base, their mission is actually expanding, and the same thing with the Seabee base."
Biloxi mayor AJ Holloway says city officials understand how important Keesler is to the Coast, and he will be letting lawmakers in Washington know that very soon. Holloway says, " I have already been contacted about going up there to one of the hearings, we are going to look closely at Keesler and make sure that does not happen, that the city of does not interfere with any of their missions."
Ultimately Congress will decide what to do, but Lott says if bases are to be eliminated, look to all those American military installations in Europe first.
" I think we have to quit thinking that we have got to be the protectors of France and Germany when they can do that themselves, and furthermore, they take every opportunity to stick their finger in our eye anyway, and I think it is time, look the Berlin Wall is down, the Soviet Union is gone, who are we defending the Germans against, their economy is strong, so lets take a look at some of those bases we have over there.
Congress has little appetite for additional shutdowns. Four rounds of closings from 1988 to 1995 eliminated 97 bases.