We're probably safePosted Wednesday, February 1, 2012, at 8:44 AM
The Pentagon last week announced a series of proposed cuts for the military that could lead to another round of Base Realignment and Closure Commissions.
Details are still sketchy, but overall, the Air Force will lose 10,000 airmen in the next fiscal year, and over the next five years will eliminate six tactical air squadrons, probably most from the F-16 fleet. The F-35 procurement program also will be slowed down considerably.
The Army and Navy also will face deep cuts, especially in ground forces (Army troops and Marines).
Our sources tell us many -- but not all -- of the bases that DoD will look at cutting will be overseas, and in fact, two Army brigades now stationed there will be removed and replaced with U.S.-based brigades that will rotate in and out of Europe, where we suspect most of the cuts will be made.
But there probably will be some bases cut at home.
At first blush, we would suggest Mountain Home Air Force Base will not be on any lists. We could be wrong, but the base is well positioned for the future.
First, we have the training range, one of the best in the country.
Second, we are the home of a foreign squadron, the 428th Fighter Squadron "Buccaneers" of the Republic of Singapore, who are here as part of a long-term treaty arrangement.
Third, we are the preferred location to base a second foreign-national squadron, that of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In fact, after trying so hard (and unsuccessfully) to obtain some F-35 squadrons, we may actually see F-15SAs out here long before anyone else in the county gets any F-35s, which has been a troubled program in development.
All this doesn't mean we shouldn't keep our antennae up about any BRAC that should come along, but we're in good shape to avoid being on any list, so people shouldn't panic.
Overall, things look pretty good in the long run for both the base and the city.
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F-35 proposal for Gowen could also benefit our base