WASHINGTON — After nearly 15 hours of deliberations that lasted into early Saturday, a federal commission added at least 60 new sites to a Pentagon list of military bases threatened with closure. All told, the commission added three Air Force bases, 25 Navy installations, six Army bases and nearly three dozen military depots to the list.
The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission is due to release its list of options Monday and is expected to decide in June which of the scores of installations should be closed. The commission will submit its final recommendations by July 1. President Clinton and Congress will then have the option of accepting or rejecting those recommendations, but cannot choose among them.
Ten of the newly listed facilities are in California. Gov. Pete Wilson said Friday that he was pleased by the decision to add more bases to the list of potential closures, but criticized the inclusion of even more California installations.
State officials have complained since the Pentagon issued its closure list that California took an unfair hit.
After adding numerous Army, Navy and Air Force bases during Friday's hearing--including the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego County and the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin--the commission near midnight turned its attention to defense depots, the maintenance facilities that each service branch has developed over the years to meet its own needs.
Since the late 1970s, the Defense Department has been trying to eliminate redundant depots but has been stymied by service parochialism and problems with consolidating the maintenance work into one installation.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff has estimated that the Pentagon could save $2 billion to $9 billion over the next 10 years if unneeded depots are closed.
To help it weigh the Pentagon's recommendations for closing some of the depots, the commission added more than 20 maintenance facilities at the end of its long day.
Seven California depots were added to the commission's review list: North Island Naval Aviation Depot, San Diego; Barstow Defense Distribution Depot; Seal Beach Navy Weapons Station; San Diego Naval Depot; Defense Distribution Depot at McClellan Air Force Base; San Diego Defense Distribution Depot and Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base.
Other depots added were Red River (Tex.) Army Depot; Anniston (Ala.) Army Depot, and Tobyhanna (Pa.) Army Depot.
The original hit list issued by Defense Secretary Les Aspin in mid-March targeted 31 major bases and 122 smaller installations nationwide.