Schenectady, New York – May 13, 2005 — Schenectady County officials today joined with the Schenectady Military Affairs Committee (SMAC) to review the impact of the base realignment and closure (BRAC) list on the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Glenville. The proposed list of base closures issued by the Pentagon today supports retaining the unique Polar Mission and ten ski-equipped C-130 aircraft at the local base.
Susan E. Savage, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature said, “The base closure list released today reaffirms what we all know – that the Polar Mission should stay in Schenectady County retaining more than 1,300 full and part-time jobs at the Stratton Air National Guard Base. We appreciate the strong leadership and support provided by Congressman McNulty, Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton for our base retention efforts.”
The Base Closure list also did not impact the Naval Reserve Center planned for the Schenectady County Airport, a key part of the plan to make the local base a multi-mission facility.
“The Naval Reserve Center is on track and we are grateful that this $20 million project, the second largest military construction project in New York State, will move forward as planned. The Navy Reserve Center will boost our economy and our national defense and we are pleased that it will continue to move forward,” County Legislative Chair Savage said.
“The Air National Guard Base supports a multitude of critical missions including the heroic and internationally acclaimed crews and aircraft of the Polar Mission support function,” said State Senator Hugh T. Farley, a member of SMAC. “The base closure report reflects positively on the importance of our work in Schenectady. I will be working closely with community leaders and our Congressional delegation to be sure that the final BRAC report aligns the interests of the nation and the skills of people in our area,” Senator Farley added.
Assemblyman Paul D. Tonko said, “The men and women of the 109th Airlift Wing at the Stratton Air National Guard Base perform their mission with skill and valor 365 days a year putting our nation’s needs ahead of their own. Today’s decision to keep the Polar Mission in Schenectady County is testimony to their hard work. I am pleased that as Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee we were able to support their efforts by providing discount electric power through the Power Authority adding to the overall cost effectiveness of the base.”
Assemblyman James N. Tedisco said, “Overall this is good news and a testament to the hard work and efforts by our base personnel, State and local officials and community who helped build a strong case for keeping the Stratton Air Base and Polar Mission in Glenville. I look forward to working with these fine groups of individuals and volunteers as we move forward to improve the security and economy of Schenectady County.”
Robert T. Farley, Minority Leader of the Schenectady County Legislature said, “The Stratton Air National Guard Base, located at the Schenectady County Airport, is a magnificent facility both for our nation and our community. In addition to its invaluable service to our national defense, scientific research and economic development, its continued operation will also allow for the establishment of the Naval Reserve facility on the same property, with its over 600 part-time jobs and $20 million office complex. The continuation of these two important strategic national and County assets, the Air Guard and the Naval Reserve, are critical to our community, and we are hopeful for and stand ready to assist in their continued and future success.”
In addition to the Naval Reserve Center, several other military units at the base including the Civil Support Team and other key homeland security missions will continue as tenant missions at the base adding to the multi-service and multi-mission approach that is now favored by the Pentagon.
Clarence Mosher, Supervisor of the Town of Glenville said, “Since the Stratton Air National Guard Base is located in the Town of Glenville, we are extremely proud of the men and women of the 109th Air Wing and their mission and we realize how important the base is to our town and the region. We are pleased that the Defense Department’s list reflects the base’s importance, not only to New York State, but to our nation.”
The Base Closure list does call for relocating four C-130 aircraft from the Stratton Air National Guard Base resulting in the potential loss of 10 military and 9 civilian jobs. This is a part of a larger plan to move aircraft from numerous guard and reserve bases.
Roger Hannay, Chair of SMAC said, “The proposed relocation of four aircraft is not, as best as we can tell, specifically aimed at our base. Rather it is part of a larger policy question that will be debated throughout the base closure process this year. The question is whether a number of aircraft should be relocated from air guard and reserve bases to an active duty installation. Guard and reserve forces are the backbone of our military. I believe that it is way too early to tell whether this proposal will hold up under the intense scrutiny of the BRAC process.”
County Officials and SMAC will immediately apply for funding from the Governor’s Task Force on Military Bases so that Schenectady County will be able to continue efforts to preserve missions and jobs at the local base.
Schenectady officials stressed that they will coordinate closely with Congressman McNulty, Congressman Sweeney, Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton and the Governor’s Office.
Hannay added, “In continuing our strong and pro-active efforts to retain missions and jobs at the Stratton Air National Guard Base, we will do so with the facts and with the utmost respect for our military leaders. They have a tough job and we owe them the respect that comes from an intelligent discussion on the issues. We will focus not just on Schenectady County’s needs but on the needs of our nation. That is the only way to win in the BRAC process. Simply pointing to local needs is not enough.”
The next step in this process is a full review of the Pentagon’s list by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The Commission will issue its final report in September.
The list becomes final unless it is rejected by the President or a 2/3rd majority in both the House and Senate.
More information may be obtained at www.nysmac.org.