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Triple threat facing Joint Base

Former Jersey Shore congressman Jim Saxton is readying the New Jersey Defense Enhancement Coalition, a group he helped form, to protect Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

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Blimp at the Joint Base
Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ

The Joint Base faces future challenges beyond potential action by a Base Realignment and Closure Commission anticipated in 2017. Saxton said the BRAC process works in several ways, and that while the full closure of bases is somewhat difficult, downsizing is often a more feasible option.

“That is a law which sets up a process through which Congress, in cooperation with the Pentagon and the administration in Washington, can actually close bases.” Saxton said. “And because of budget pressures we have today, particularly cuts in the defense budget, it is expected that bases will become smaller because there will be fewer people in the military — fewer airplanes, fewer boats, fewer ships — and so there is a natural tendency to downsize when money becomes more scarce.”

The threat to a significantly smaller base such as Lakehurst, or the entire Joint Base, is much higher, according to Saxton. He also expressed concerns about the Army, Navy and Marine Corps possibly transferring missions to other bases.

“So we’ve got mission transfer, we’ve got the BRAC clock process, and we’ve got budgetary pressures on the military, all three of which threaten to downsize or close the base,” Saxton said.

Saxton’s coalition is ready to put up a roadblock at BRAC time if necessary; however, he said the group always takes a positive approach in working with the leadership of both the base and the military to try and make life as comfortable, meaningful and purposeful at the Joint Base as possible.

Anyone who would like to help support the efforts of the coalition or get involved can go to www.DECNJ.com or contact 856-642-9595.

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