BRAC Could Target Air Base for Third Time

April 10, 2013 Updated Apr 10, 2013 at 11:30 PM EDT

By John Borsa

April 10, 2013 Updated Apr 10, 2013 at 11:30 PM EDT

WHEATFIELD, NY (WKBW) - Despite a campaign promise from the President not to close military bases, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday presented the Pentagon's $526 billion budget request, which calls for shutting down bases in a process called BRAC.

Base Realignment and Closure Commission has targeted the Niagara Falls Air Reserve station twice before, in 1995 and 2005.

The next round of BRAC is not expected to start until 2016 and Niagara County officials fully expect the Niagara Falls Air Base will be on the list.

"Is it going to be a tough fight?" asked Niagara County Legislature Chairman William Ross. "Yes it is. But I think we're ready and we have the people in place."

An army of supporters, rallied by an organization that was formed during the first round of BRAC closures in 1995, when the base was first saved. NIMAC - Niagara Military Affairs Council - is a civilian group backing the base. It played a major role during the second round of BRAC in 2005.

"We've been working since 2005 on behalf of this base, bringing new projects in and keeping the infrastructure up," said NIMAC's Vice Chairman John Cooper.

"We don't know at this time if we're being targeted per se. Although, the fact we've been on the list before certainly indicates that we need to be vigilant," he said.

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