Green Criticizes BRAC Criteria
January 29, 2004
Washington, DC - In an effort to protect Houstons Ellington Field in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) recently expressed concerns that the draft criteria do not adequately reflect the role the military plays in homeland defense. In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Green and fourteen members of the Texas Congressional Delegation requested that their concerns be addressed in the final BRAC criteria scheduled to be released next month.
First, we ask that domestic bases be given priority over foreign bases in this round of BRAC, said the letter. The protection of the citizens in this country and our interest here at home is paramount. To ensure this, we must look at the role each military installation plays, whether it is on U.S. soil or not.
The letter highlighted the militarys increased role in homeland security since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and Ellington Fields unique position to defend Houstons port and industry from future terrorist attacks.
Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, which could close under the current criteria, would move the 147th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard to either San Antonio or Corpus Christi, the letter continued. In doing so, the response time to respond to an attack at the Port of Houston, the largest port in the U.S. for foreign tonnage, or the Houston petrochemical complex, which accounts for nearly half of the nations base petrochemical production capacity, would increase from seven minutes to thirty minutes.
Closing Ellington Field would jeopardize security for the Port of Houston, the Houston petrochemical complex, NASAs Johnsons Space Center, and the nearly five million people who reside in the nations fourth largest city, Green said in describing why Ellington Field should be given priority in the 2005 BRAC round.
The signatories of the letter included the following members of the Texas delegation: Reps. Gene Green, Tom Delay, Joe Barton, John Culberson, Kevin Brady, Nick Lampson, Chet Edwards, Ron Paul, Ruben Hinojosa, Shelia Jackson-Lee, Martin Frost, Chris Bell, Michael Burgess, Max Sandlin and John Carter.