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Scott Brown Urges Pentagon to Shield Hanscom From Any Cuts

Feb 2, 2012Boston Globe, Council in the News

By Bryan Bender
Globe Staff

WASHINGTON — Senator Scott Brown today pressed the case to maintain the region’s military facilities, telling Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford and other nearby installations serve critical national security functions and should be shielded from downsizing pressures.

Massachusetts Republican, who has been working to enlist the help of other New England lawmakers to shield the region from defense cuts, reiterated concerns about the possible impact of a Pentagon proposal to establish a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

Brown particularly extolled the virtues of Hanscom, which is home to the Air Force’s Electronic Systems Center. It employs, either directly and indirectly, more than 30,000 people, according to a defense industry group.

Brown, who recently visited the base, said he believes a strong case can be made to expand Hanscom, especially its work in the area of cyber warfare, which is receiving more attention from the Pentagon in its new strategy.

“Hanscom is uniquely situated to take the lead – in partnership with world-class high-technology engineers and electronic systems experts from the immediate area – in confronting some of our nation’s most pressing cyber threats,” Brown wrote. “Hanscom represents a one-of-a-kind confluence of academic, scientific research, and defense industrial base resources that surround it.”

Brown, a member of the Armed Services Committee, also emphasized the importance of Natick Soldier Systems Lab; Westover Air Reserve Base, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Devens Reserve Forces Training Area; the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod; and the Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England in Wood’s Hole.

Congress must approve the establishment of a BRAC commission, an independent body that in the past has identified excess military infrastructure.

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