Washington, D.C. – Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Democratic Leader, praised members of a special commission for deciding today that the Hawthorne Army Depot should remain open and in full operation.
“Hawthorne Army Depot has unique qualities that are vital to our national security,” said Reid. “They do work in Hawthorne that can’t be done at any other base. I’m thrilled the BRAC commissioners saw the importance of keeping Hawthorne open.”
The Department of Defense had recommended closing the Hawthorne Army Depot earlier this year. The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission is an independent, bipartisan commission created to study the Department of Defense recommendations further. After months of consideration, they reversed the original finding today during their final recommendation hearing. The vote was 7 to 0; two commissioners did not vote, including former Nevada Congressman Jim Bilbray who was appointed to the board by Reid. Bilbray was required to abstain from voting because the base is in his home state.
Reid had worked for months to make sure the commissioners understood the value of the Hawthorne base. Reid requested and helped arrange a hearing before the BRAC Comission in Clovis, New Mexico in June, and he asked Commissioner Philip Coyle to visit Nevada’s military installations personally. In late July, just before then end of the BRAC Commission’s fact-finding period, he asked BRAC Chairman Anthony J. Principi to visit Nevada as well, which gave two of the commissioners a first-hand look at Hawthorne.
“I know the commissioners who visited Hawthorne were very impressed with what they saw,” said Reid. “The initial recommendation to close Hawthorne was based on some flawed analysis. Once the commissioners saw the base themselves, they realized what incredible work our troops do there. I’m grateful to all the commissioners for their conscientious work, especially my friend Jim Bilbray who did a great job representing Nevada. The BRAC Commission’s decision today was fair, impartial, and good for the country.”
The Pentagon recommended dozens of closures or cuts at bases around America, as part of a major realignment of the country’s military. Closing the Hawthorne Army Depot and reducing the Nevada Air National Guard base in Reno were two of those recommendations. The BRAC Commission has not announced its final decision about the Nevada Air National Guard yet.
The Commission will send its final recommendations to the President, who must approve the BRAC Commission’s report. The President will then send the report to Congress, which must also approve the report within 45 days.