Fighting To Keep Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Open

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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914th Airlift Wing unit shield

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. –( release ) Representatives Kathy Hochul (NY-26) and Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today said they will continue to fight on behalf of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made an announcement detailing defense budget cuts.

Hochul and Slaughter represent the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and have been actively engaged in the process to protect the base.

“The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is an important part of the military, our nation’s national security, and the Western New York community,” said Congresswoman Hochul. “As a new Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have already held personal meetings with senior military officials, and have communicated with the Administration about the importance of this installation.”

“We know how difficult these BRAC Commissions are because of all the work it took in 2005 to save it,” said Congresswoman Slaughter. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Niagara Falls Air Base deserves to be the crown jewel of the Air Force. I’ve been proud to join my colleagues in conversations about the importance of the Air Base for Western New York and the United States military.”

The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Center is home to the 914th and 107th Airlift Wings and is the largest employer in Niagara County.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz will brief the media at noon EST, Jan. 27, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) on Air Force strategic choices and budget priorities.

GILLIBRAND STATEMENT ON DEFENSE BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENT

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement today after U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s Defense Department budget announcement:

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am very pleased to see that Secretary Panetta is focused on increasing investment in our cyber capabilities, such as those we develop in New York's Mohawk Valley.

“I am concerned, however, about the mention of a BRAC round, which can be very harmful to the economic wellbeing of many communities, without producing significant savings. I think we should not rush any BRAC proposal. I also agree with the Secretary about the importance of our Reserve Components and will work to ensure that the Air Force is leveraging the total force, including the National Guard and Reserves, as effectively as are the other Services.

“I want to ensure that any reductions in the Army’s end strength do not undermine our readiness and that we leverage our domestic training that allows for a diverse and challenging training experience. I will fight to protect New York’s military assets that are critical to keeping America safe.”

Since becoming a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Gillibrand has been visiting the more than 20 major military assets across New York State to meet with local commanders, and discuss current and potential missions. In October, Senator Gillibrand convened a summit of New York State’s military community in an effort to put New York’s military installations in a position of strength for the long term.