Contact Air Force to keep Cannon

By Bob Barker

Another round of base closures is on the horizon. According to an article published recently by the Air Force Retiree News, almost 10 years have passed since the last round of base closures. 
In mid-December 2001, the House and Senate authorized the Department of Defense to execute a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in 2005. For a history of what happened during the previous BRACs in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995, visit the Web site at:
www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/brac.htm
There you will find a list of all affected military facilities grouped by year, as well as a history of the BRAC. There were 97 major base closures and 55 major realignments during previous BRAC actions since 1988, according to DoD documents.
I bring this matter to the public’s attention because what most do not realize is that the military facilities considered for closure (or realignment) are provided to the BRAC committee by the Secretary of Defense based on recommendations from the respective branches of the military. 
So … to argue for or against a closure, one should contact the host military branch and not write or call your congressman or senator. 
In the case of Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, concerned area residents should be contacting the U.S. Air Force and stating their case to them.
To contact the Air Force, go to the Web site:
www.hafdash1.hq.af.mil
and click on the “CONTACT THE AIR FORCE” link at the bottom of the page.
While this is only July 2003, time is really shorter than one might think. I believe the military branches are already working on their lists, which are probably due to the Secretary of Defense by this time next year. Then the BRAC committee will have until 2005 to make its final choices to meet the deadline set by Congress. 
Citizens should cite realistic reasons in their letter or email (or phone call) that will have merit. Unfortunately, arguing a collapse of the local economy may not hold much water with the powers that be. 
Just because new construction is occurring on our base, this is no reason to prevent closure. This has also been the case at other bases that have closed.   
The fact that Cannon AFB has a unique mission (rapid response force) with a weapons system that has no equal or replacement at the present (the new F16) are things that do have merit. 
I am sure there are more things that may come out with a little research, perhaps with the help of the office of Public Affairs at CAFB. 
The more who contact the Air Force, the better our chances at keeping Cannon.

Bob Baker is a retired chief master sergeant with the U.S. Air Force and has been a Clovis resident since 1979.