I am writing to correct the record regarding a recent story ("Defense Conversion Has Few Converts So Far," Oct. 11), which incorrectly characterizes legislation I authored on defense conversion.
In September, the Senate unanimously passed legislation I introduced to target funds to communities "most adversely affected by reduced spending for national defense and by military base closures." This sense-of-the-Congress resolution was incorporated into the 1993 defense authorization bill, and is the first time Congress has ever gone on record to support targeting funds for defense conversion. In addition, the Administration has agreed to prioritize funds in that manner for communities which are hardest hit.
Base closings and defense downsizing have hit California harder than any other state. In the first two rounds of base closings, California absorbed approximately 50% of all military personnel reductions in America. In this latest round, the state will suffer about one-third of the total job loss. It is estimated that by 1998, California will lose 650,000 jobs due to defense downsizing and base closures.
Because of the impact of this downsizing, I have also strongly encouraged the Administration to award technology reinvestment project grants--better known as TRP--to communities across the country that have been hardest hit. California companies account for 23% of all grant applications made to TRP, the main source of federal funds for defense firms attempting to convert to peacetime uses.
It seems very logical to me that federal funds go where they are needed most, and that the federal government provide people with the support they need as our nation downsizes its military.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN