Military trimming should be based on fact, not agenda

Freedom Newspapers

The message that will resound clearly at this morning’s BRAC regional hearing is straightforward: Keep Cannon Air Force Base in America’s defense lineup. Its uncluttered, soon-to-be supersonic airspace and nearby bombing range fit well with America’s future military base needs.

The facts behind the message also will be crystal clear. The presenters of Operation Keep Cannon will explain to the BRAC commissioners and staff what the correct data and analyses should be for keeping Cannon active. They will detail why Cannon can grow in a cost-effective manner that allows the United States military men and women stationed here to train and achieve excellence, and thus to fight wars as safely as possible.

The BRAC commissioners also will hear many unsettling facts about the regional economy, should Cannon close. That data, too, will lay waste to the Pentagon’s findings, which conveniently shows far less damage to the region and residents if Cannon closed.

These and other substantive facts the Air Force and the Department of Defense got wrong when they built their justifications for the closure list on a house of cards. How unsettling that is in a time of war to hear a litany about decisions made by top Defense Department and military bosses that goes like this:

“You are wrong — wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.”

As the BRAC commissioners have and will continue to hear till the last hearing is done next month, New Mexico isn’t the only place the BRAC data has been found faulty. This begs a question not only about Cannon’s future but even bigger ones:

• With all the mistakes in data and the resulting conclusions of the BRAC list, how long can America remain safe if the right places are not left open to defend the country properly?

• With so many errors for so many places, doesn’t that imply the facts collected and conclusions reached were chosen not necessarily for truth but to support the conclusions arrived at before the truth was known?

Trimming excess military facility and base capacity is proper. But the plan to do so must be built on fact, not the political agendas of a few. We believe the BRAC Commission’s nine seasoned veterans of high-level government and military strategy must be scratching their heads at some of the findings.

We thank all of them, the six commissioners who could visit Clovis and Cannon, and their staff, for hearing our concerns firsthand, for seeing what a national treasure awaits America. We urge them to cast their votes later this summer to take Cannon AFB off the list.