Closures would hurt defense

Minot Daily News, Minot, N.D.: The idea of a new round of military base closings has surfaced again in Washington, D.C., as lawmakers look for ways to cut spending as the nation’s budget deficit crisis continues.

A Pentagon official would not say during testimony recently before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee if President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget, which hasn’t been submitted, would include a request for base closings. A number of lawmakers immediately said they were opposed to closing more military installations, and challenged Defense Department officials to offer evidence for the need to close more bases.

North Dakota, of course, is no stranger to being involved in base closing discussions. Grand Forks Air Force Base has seen its population and mission significantly reduced in the past, and Minot Air Force Base has been in the discussion during past base closing rounds. But both installations continue to prove their need and value to not only the economy of North Dakota but to the nation’s overall defense.

We understand it’s all assumption at this point, but we believe now is not the time to be discussing closing military installations. The ever-changing situations in the Middle East and North Korea are just two of many examples of scenarios that could require military force.

Nation’s defense

North Dakota’s bases continue to play a vital role in the nation’s defense, and we’re confident local and state leaders, as well as our congressional delegation and military officials, could easily offer vast evidence why the installations should remain open. But let’s hope the discussion of closing more military installations doesn’t even get started.

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