All the right moves to protect Scott Air Force Base

May 5, 2013 

Recent headlines about Scott Air Force Base sounded alarm bells about the base's future. While it's prudent to keep a watchful eye on the impact of sequestration and other Department of Defense cuts, as well as the timing of another potential round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), it's important to dispel any question that Scott is at imminent risk of closure.

The reality is, since the last BRAC, Scott has been strengthened through the addition of new missions and significant investments to improve existing and add new facilities at the base. Its annual impact on our region has grown 40 percent to more than $3 billion. As the base has grown, so, too, has the commitment of our local, state and federal legislators to protect this vital national asset that is so essential to our region.

Ongoing efforts are helping to ensure the region has the right infrastructure, workforce and land use plans in place to support continued growth at Scott. And, with another potential BRAC on the horizon, regional leaders are already working to determine what more needs to be done to once again position the base for growth versus closure.

The recent selection of the St. Louis region to receive the prestigious Abilene Trophy is a testament to our region's world class support for Scott and our airmen. We must build on that and ramp up support to be prepared for any actions negatively impacting the base. With a united approach, we're optimistic Scott will continue to grow.

Gerry Schuetzenhofer

Chairman

Military Affairs Committee

Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois

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