Rep. Paul Cook Opposes Secretary Hagel’s Call for Base Closures

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By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today responded to the comments made by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on his recent visit to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin.

Hagel called for a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) as part of his plans to downsize the military. These comments were made during a visit to Fort Irwin, one of the Army’s premier training bases. The Secretary did not specify which bases he would seek to close.

Rep. Cook responded, “I simply don’t understand why the Secretary of Defense would talk about closing military bases at a time when we face so many global threats. With the Islamic State, an increasingly aggressive Russia and China, and rogue nations like Iran and North Korea pursuing nuclear weapons, the readiness of our troops and our capabilities should be our number one priority.

“In addition to the security situation, the Secretary’s comments could not have been delivered at a worse location, in the midst of communities that were severely impacted by the closures of Norton Air Force Base and George Air Force Base. California has been targeted repeatedly for base closures, despite the fact that it contains some of the finest military installations in the world.

“I will fight to prevent any additional California base closures, especially those in Southern California. I’m prepared to voice those concerns to the Secretary.”

A member of the House Armed Services, Veterans’ Affairs, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired as a Colonel after 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal with valor device and two Purple Hearts for actions in combat.

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