Hagel calls for BRAC in 2017 | News
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is asking Congress for another round of Base Realignment and Closure in 2017. That's the process known as BRAC.
Hagel made the announcement Monday afternoon during a preview of his 2015 budget at the Pentagon.
His request can move forward with Congress' approval.
Also in his presentation, Hagel called for retiring the aging A-10 aircraft.
Macon's Boeing plant makes wings for the plane.
This would be the third blow to that factory, if Congress approves Hagel's request.
Boeing announced an end to the C-17 production line last year, and just a few weeks ago, said their Chinook helicopter operation would move to another plant.
Boeing spokeswoman Lori Moore said "it's too early to speculate" what Hagel's proposal might mean for Boeing's Macon plant. She said the A-10's are the lead program at that facility.
According to the Macon Economic Development Commission's website, Boeing employs 518 people and is the second largest manufacturer in Bibb County.
Hagel said his requests to retire the A-10 and reduce military infrastructure through the BRAC process are due to budget cuts and wars ending overseas.
He said, "As we end our combat mission in Afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully reflect the transition DOD is making after 13 years of war -- the longest conflict in our nation's history."
He said the savings from retiring the A-10 fleet would help pay for new F-35 aircraft, stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
Hagel's plan also calls for an end to the U-2 spy plane program, that's been around since the 1960s. That could affect Robins Air Force Base, which houses a program office for the aircraft. The mission of U-2 will be fulfilled, Hagel said, with the unmanned Global Hawks. Robins also has a program office for that weapon system.
Hagel also wants to draw down the Army by 70 to 80,000 active duty soldiers. The target level would be between 440 and 450-thousand troops.
That's a 13-percent reduction and would bring the Army to its lowest levels since the start of World War 2.