Mikulski and Sarbanes Disappointed Over Brac Decision Stripping Aircraft from Maryland Air National Guard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes (both D-MD) expressed their disappointment and concern over tonight's decision by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission to remove all eight C-130J aircraft currently based at Martin State Air Base (MSA) in Middle River, Maryland.

"I am very disappointed that the BRAC Commission did not overturn the Air Force recommendation removing all eight C-130J aircraft from Martin State Air Base.? I do not believe this proposal takes into account the Air Guard's deployment and training requirements in the current security environment," said Senator Mikulski.? "I am concerned this decision will leave the Maryland?Air Guard under-manned and ill-equipped to meet its unique homeland security mission.? I will continue to work with the Air Force and our Maryland Air Guard to ensure that they have the right equipment and?training opportunities to continue to fulfill their critical homeland security mission."

"Although this BRAC round has been overwhelmingly positive for Maryland, I am disappointed that the BRAC Commission chose to relocate the C-130J transport aircraft at Martin State Airport in Baltimore County," said Senator Sarbanes.? "These aircraft are responsible for the conduct of homeland security operations in the National Capital Region and I believe these operations will become much more difficult by relying on aircraft that are much further away from their mission."

The Air Force recommendation would have stripped all tactical airlift aircraft currently supporting the National Capital Region, the Military District of Washington, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III.? Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes joined the Maryland delegation in advocating that the Commission reject this proposal, arguing that the unique assets and location of the 135th Air Group make it an invaluable component of the military defense of the National Capital Region.?

Final BRAC recommendations will now go to President Bush for approval.

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