Ron Wyden recently said the Pacific Northwest is valnerable to terrorist attacks especially as Bush pulls out more with the new restructuring of the country's military layout.
It is time my friends that Pacific Northwest create a purely civilian based network of support in cases of crises in the region. Several weeks ago I published "A well regulated Militia" http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/05/317662.shtml Claiming we need to form the JACCs (Joint Action Citizenry Corp). Again this is time that we pool our resources and focus on making our communities safe from natural disasters and man-made tragedies.
Read more of Sen. Wyden story about the threats to the Pacific Northwest___
Top Oregon military officer blasts Pentagon plan
6/3/2005, 3:54 p.m. PT
By TYPH TUCKER
The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A senior member of the Oregon National Guard on Friday blasted the Pentagon's plan to transfer an F-15 fighter unit based in Portland to other parts of the country, saying it could leave the Northwest more vulnerable to threats.
"There seems to be a total lack of concern here for people in Oregon, Washington and parts of Canada," Col. Mike Caldwell said of the proposal to reduce the number of F-15s at the Air National Guard base in Portland from 15 to two.
Caldwell is deputy director of state affairs for the Oregon National Guard.
Fighter jets from the Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing are needed to respond to threats from California to Canada, Caldwell said.
"If there are asymmetric threats — small planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles — with just two jets you close down the ability to respond to threats," Caldwell said at a news conference with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Wyden is among Oregon politicians — including Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Republican Sen. Gordon Smith — who have criticized the Pentagon's proposal, announced three weeks ago as part of a nationwide plan to close 33 bases and downsize 29 others to save an estimated $48 billion over 20 years.
On Friday, Wyden urged Oregonians to send letters to the commission considering the Pentagon's proposals. That panel — called the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, or BRAC — will make recommendations to President Bush by Sept. 8.
Asked to comment on the statements by Caldwell and Wyden, BRAC spokesman Robert McCreary said no final decisions have been made.
Wyden and Caldwell met earlier Friday with commanders of the 142nd Fighter Wing to discuss the Pentagon's realignment proposal, which would transfer F-15 fighter jets to New Jersey and Louisiana and relocate eight KC-135 Portland-based refueling tankers to Oklahoma and Kansas. About 1,000 military and civilian personnel would be transferred to other states.
On the Net:
Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission: http://www.brac.gov
Sen. Ron Wyden: http://wyden.senate.gov/
142nd Fight Wing: http://www.goang.com/officesite.aspx?office_id53
PENTAGON'S PROPOSED CLOSURES, REALIGNMENTS
TARGET OREGON MILITARY FACILITIES
Major realignment recommended at PDX Airport Air Guard Station,
closures at Umatilla Chemical Depot, Central Point Navy Reserve Center
May 13, 2005
Washington, DC - The Portland International Airport Air Guard Station was targeted for major realignments and the Umatilla Chemical Depot in eastern Oregon and Navy Reserve Center in Central Point were recommended for closure by the Pentagon today, in a proposal raising strong concerns for U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld advocated the shutdowns and realignments as part of a list submitted to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission this morning. In a May 6 letter to BRAC Chairman Anthony Principi, Senators Wyden and Smith lobbied for the current role of Oregon's military facilities. (The text of the bipartisan letter can be read at wyden.senate.gov and at gsmith.senate.gov.)
"I'm going to have lots of questions to understand how the Pentagon plans to keep Oregonians safe if these changes are put in place," said Wyden. "I'm not going to allow our state to become a sacrifice zone in an era of increased homeland security needs."
"Before any changes are made, the Pentagon is going to have to justify its decisions," Smith said. "I am going to review these recommendations closely. I want to ensure that Oregonians will be safe and that our communities receive all the help available to recover economically if this plan goes through."
Proposed changes to the Air Guard Station at Portland International Airport include realignment of the 142nd Fighter Wing's F-15 aircraft to stations in Atlantic City, N.J. and New Orleans, La.; the Pentagon list says the wing's expeditionary combat support elements and two combat communications squadrons will remain at Portland. Changes to the 939th Air Refueling Wing include realignment of aircraft and maintenance personnel to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma and Forbes Field Air Guard Station in Kansas, with one aircraft sent to backup inventory. Remaining personnel of the 939th, including expeditionary combat support, would be realigned to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The 304th Rescue Squadron at Portland would be realigned to McChord Air Force Base in Washington.
The Secretary of Defense also recommended complete closure of the Umatilla Chemical Depot when the facility's existing workload is completed in 2011.
The Pentagon also proposes the closure of the Navy Reserve Center in Central Point as part of a nationwide consolidation of Navy Reserve facilities to reduce overhead costs.
BRAC Commissioners will now review the Secretary's list of proposed changes at U.S. military facilities and make final recommendations to the President by September 8, 2005. If the President accepts the Commission's list, it will move to Congress for final consideration before the end of the year.