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Protecting Scott A.F.B., the Aim of Sen. Durbin

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James to visit
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MASCOUTAH, Ill. (KMOX) - A big meeting at Scott Air Force Base is seen as another preemptive strike to stop any effort to close the base before any such talk gets started.

That meeting is headed by Sen. Dick Durbin, who held a similar base tour in March when he entertained Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh.

This time it will be Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. It will be closed to the media although they plan a news conference later.

Durbin has said he feels Scott A.F.B. is in a strong position but he wants to take no chances that a future Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) would put the air base in it’s cross hairs.

Any new BRAC commission would have to be approved by congress. Sen. Durbin called the last one political even though it was designed to be independent.

One thing that could protect Scott Air Force Base from any future closure is the nearby school system. Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is pushing legislation that would make the process of transferring the children of military families from one school district to another, seamless. Simon says students of such families are three times more likely to have to transfer.

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