No time to be complacent about Scott Air Force Base

May 1, 2013 

It's safe to say that Scott Air Force Base won't be closed anytime soon. But it's a mistake to think that Scott is not at any risk.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said this week that military leaders who briefed him reassured him that our area would not lose Scott.

With all due respect, how could they know? There may be another round of base closings in 2015, and the Department of Defense has already said there's a 25 percent surplus of infrastructure. Scott is infrastructure.

Military leaders don't necessarily know what political decisions might be made. And yes, the base-closing process is always political.

Beyond that, the Defense Department plans to cut $500 billion over the next 10 years. The base might not be closed, but it could be dramatically affected.

The best course isn't to focus on either extreme, but to help ensure that Scott continually works to strengthen its mission and reason for existence. Ellen Krohne, the executive director of Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, frames it well. Area leaders need to understand the future needs of the base and the Air Force, then work to ensure they are met.

Theoretically Scott could be closed. The goal is to make sure it wouldn't make sense for our nation's defense.

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