wtf i mean i know they need a new hospital with more beds but damn. this is not good i think pope afb is going to get screwed along with elseworth air force bases.
Base panel votes to close Walter Reed hospital
Commission now turns to decisions about Air Force bases
Updated: 10:32 a.m. ET Aug. 25, 2005
WASHINGTON - A federal commission voted to close the crown jewel of Army hospitals as it began its second day of decision-making on sweeping plans to restructure U.S. military bases.
Located in the nation’s capital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center has treated presidents and foreign leaders as well as veterans and soldiers, including those returning from the Iraq war.
Under the Pentagon plan, the hospital’s staff and services would move from Walter Reed’s historic main post to the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., to create an expanded facility, as well as a regional hospital at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
The Pentagon calls this “jointness” — the services combining their strengths rather than working separately. Walter Reed’s care is considered first-rate but the facility is showing its age, the commission found.
“Kids coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, all of them in harm’s way, deserve to come back to 21st-century medical care,” Commission Chairman Anthony Principi said Thursday. “It needs to be modernized.”
One-time costs, including construction and renovations, would total $989 million. The Pentagon would save $301 million over 20 years, the commission said. The expanded facility would be renamed Walter Reed. The current hospital has about 185 beds, but the expanded facility would have 340.
Early end to voting
The nine-member panel also was starting debate and voting Thursday on the Air Force’s plans, arguably the most contentious of the group, as it steamrolled through hundreds of Pentagon proposals at a brisk pace after four months of study and preparation.
As he gaveled open the hearing, Commission Chairman Anthony Principi said he expected to finish voting no later than Friday, a day earlier than planned. The commission must send its final report to President Bush by Sept. 8.
The president can accept it, reject it, or send it back to the commission for revisions. Congress also will have a chance to veto the plan in its entirety but it has not taken that step in four previous rounds of base closings. If ultimately approved, the changes would occur over the next six years.
With communities around the country awaiting word anxiously, the panel breezed through Army and Navy proposals Wednesday, deciding even high-profile issues, such as saving a submarine base in Connecticut and a shipyard in Maine, in less than an hour.
The panel agreed with proposals to shutter hundreds of small and large facilities in all corners of the country, and, ahead of schedule, began taking up recommendations that would streamline support, education, training and medical services across the military branches.
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‘Large muscle movements’
The commission was moving next to the Air Force plan, much of which includes recommendations to shake up the Air National Guard, a highly controversial effort. The Air Force also proposes closing both Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.
“We’re doing some very large muscle movements,” Gen. Gary Heckman, a top Air Force official who helped lead the service’s base-closing analysis team, said in an interview.
He said his service branch wasn’t hit in previous rounds of closures as hard as the Army and Navy because overhauling the Air Force’s structure — which is what has been proposed this time around — is very difficult.
Ellsworth’s proposed closing has caused the most political consternation because Sen. John Thune, a freshman senator, had argued during the 2004 campaign that he — rather his Democratic opponent, then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle — would be in a better position to save the facility. Nonetheless, it showed up on the Pentagon’s closure list.
Closing Cannon would cost Clovis, N.M., a small town on the Texas-New Mexico line, nearly 3,000 jobs.
Savings estimate: $48.8 billion
Overall, the Pentagon has proposed closing or consolidating a record 62 major military bases and 775 smaller installations to save $48.8 billion over 20 years, streamline the services and reposition the armed forces.
Since the Pentagon announced its proposal in May, commissioners had voiced concerns about several parts of it, including the estimate of how much money would be saved.
In some of its first decisions Wednesday, the commission voted to keep open several major Army and Navy bases that military planners want to shut down, including the Portsmouth shipyard in Kittery, Maine, and the New London submarine base in Groton, Conn., two of the Navy’s oldest bases.
Air Force biggest issue
By far, the most controversy — both on the commission and off — has surrounded the Air Force.
Most of its proposals cover the Air National Guard and would shift people, equipment and aircraft around at 54 or more sites where Guard units are stationed.
Aircraft would be taken away from 25 Air National Guard units. Instead of flying missions, those units would get other missions such as expeditionary combat support roles. They also would retain their state missions of aiding governors during civil disturbances and natural disasters.
Several states have sued to stop the shake-up, the commission itself has voiced concern that the plan would compromise homeland security, and the Justice Department was brought
in to settle arguments over whether the Pentagon could relocate Air National Guard units without a governor’s consent. The ruling said it could.
The Pentagon says as a package, the Air Force proposals represent an effort to reshape the service branch into a more effective fighting force by consolidating both weapons systems and personnel, given that it will have a smaller but smarter aircraft fleet in the future.
That pretty much sums it up, the Commission made a good decision. It will combine the talents of both Hospitals, which is a win-win for our wounded Servicemen who deserve the best care.
NSWC Crane has been spared so far! ALQ-99 and Chem/Bio both left in place.
Waiting to see if they give my group the axe.
im glad they our building a bigger hospital for them.
will this put them closer to dover afb where the troops come in or not.
I was born in that hospital.
Its kinda good in a way, they need better facilities. I was there with my dad in late 90s for his quintuple bypass and they were very very limited on accomodations for relatives staying near the sick or wounded. I was none too impressed with the hospital facilities but the doctors were decent and the cafeteria was excellent at the time.
Belvoir could be a good home to a new hospital. I was one of the last OBC classes there and its a nice post and could accomodate so much more if done right....but oh yeah, they sent all the engineers to Ft. Lostinthewoods.
Our wounded need the most state of the art facilities around if you ask me and the govt. should pony up the bucks to do it right.
hopefully the newer stuff is better and FASTER god knows they wait way too long for services