Missouri elected officials and armed forces stakeholders are preparing for a new round of possible cuts and closures at military bases.
Congresswoman Vicki Hartzler held a roundtable discussion in Columbia on Tuesday morning to talk about the importance of defense spending in our state.
Military personnel at Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base could see a new round of cuts if President Obama and Department of Defense Administrators have their way. They call it â??BRACâ?? or Base Realignment and Closure.
Hartzler hosted the event that highlighted the importance of Missouriâ??s military installations and the economic impact that federal defense spending has on all Missourians. Whiteman Air Force Base is best known for the stealth bomber and all of the federal money that comes with it. Fort Leonard Wood also plays a huge role in our national defense.
Hartzler said, â??It starts with the economic impact of the current defense industry to our state. We can also look for any opportunities to strengthen any weaknesses we have to better position ourselves for future mission enhancement here.â??
Hartzler and defense experts answered questions from Missourians involved with the military. They want to be in a stronger position if and when the BRAC cuts take effect.
Kit Bond Strategies Director of Defense and International Affairs Michael Dubois said, â??We are looking inside the Pentagon and working with an outstanding congressional delegation to mitigate those cuts. We are seeking out possible opportunities for missions that we could gain here given the tremendous capabilities at Whiteman, Fort Leonard Wood and our Missouri Guard.â??
Each stealth bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base costs more than $3 billion if you add the costs for development, testing and ongoing engineering. That makes the B-2 Spirit the most expensive military aircraft.
Military strategists said the annual economic impact of federal defense spending on the State of Missouri is about $40 billion with an employment number of about $15 billion. The proposed new round of military cuts would come down during the 2013 and 2014 budgets.
Hartzler is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and is working with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Republican Senator Roy Blunt to help squelch any military cuts in Missouri.