Retired general honored for Cannon efforts

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Military supporters around New Mexico say they couldn’t succeed without the efforts of Hanson Scott. Scott insists it’s a mutual partnership.

“What we’ve had is a team working together in the state,” said Scott, who was named the Public Sector Official of the Year by the Association of Defense Communities.

Scott, a retired Air Force brigadier general and director of the state’s office of military base planning and support, will receive the award during the association’s annual conference, Aug. 10-13, in Monterey, Calif.

The nomination came from Stuart Purviance of the Kirtland Partnership Committee, a non-profit created to support Kirtland Air Force Base. According to the nomination letter, Scott played a pivotal role in helping both Kirtland (1995) and Cannon Air Force Base (2005) survive after being placed on the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure list.

“Hanson Scott played a vital role in the effort to keep New Mexico’s bases alive during BRAC,” Gov. Bill Richardson said in a release, “and his commitment is evident as he continues to strengthen the partnership between our bases and surrounding communities.”

Duties Scott received credit for in the nominating letter included:

• An assessment of Cannon Air Force Base, which found errors in the Department of Defense’s grading of Cannon during the BRAC process and estimated closure to have a negative 30 percent impact on eastern New Mexico;

• Pushing the New Mexico Legislature to pass a transformational acquisition programs tax deduction to support programs at White Sands Missile Range;

• Directing land-use planning between the Bureau of Land Management, the State Land Office and Holloman Air Force Base to support encroachment avoidance; and

• Coordination of new drop zones for Kirtland Air Force Base.

Scott said he was surprised and delighted to win the award from a national pool of nominees, and credited Richardson, Cannon supporter Randy Harris and others.

Regarding Cannon, Scott said the base isn’t hard to pitch for Special Operations Command because it has no encroachment, plenty of clear days for training missions and the Melrose Bombing Range.

The work required to keep bases in New Mexico wouldn’t be so demanding, Scott said, if military presence wasn’t so valuable.

“New Mexico has a lot of advantages (for the military) … but there’s a competition for military installations and services.”