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Pentagon recommends closure of nearly 800 military locations

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Newport Chemical Depot along with five other Indiana bases and nearly 800 military locations nationwide were recommended for closure by the Pentagon Friday.

Newport Representative Dennis Lindsey said it's important to note this is only a recommendation.

"We found out about it the same way everyone else did," Lindsey said, referring to an e-mail the depot received Friday.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, "The President must approve and submit the commission's recommendations to the Congress for review and appropriate action. The entire process is expected to be completed by the end of 2005."

The possibility of a closing is made easier because Lindsey said Newport was always considered "non-enduring."

The DOD expects to save nearly $50 billion on the closings and realignings that could potentially effect the almost 1,000 Newport employees.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the cuts will better position U.S. forces to confront this century's threats.

Lindsey said the military personnel at the plant will most likely be relocated. However, the future of the civilian jobs is in the hands of the government.

"The government usually tries to help folks try to find jobs," he said.

Five other bases in Indiana are at risk of closure, including New Marine Corps Reserve Center, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Bunker Hill; Navy Recruiting District Headquarters, Indianapolis; Navy Reserve Center, Evansville; U.S. Army Reserve Center, Lafayette and U.S. Army Reserve Center, Seston.

Other military employee cuts could include nearly 700 of Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center's 4,000 jobs, according to the Associated Press.

The Air National Guard base at Hulman Field in Terre Haute will realign its current mission, but will not be closing, according to information from the United States Air Force.

The Newport Chemical Depot has been operating since World War II, but its primary purpose now is the neutralization of more than 12,000 tons of VX nerve agent stored there, Lindsey said.



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