War-time needs help grow MCLB - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

War-time needs help grow MCLB

Albany - MCLB will repair and test more military equipment under changes proposed by the Secretary of Defense. However, the Albany Marine Base stands to lose some jobs to Robins Air Force Base.

Debate over the proposed base closing starts Monday in Washington, D.C. The Pentagon wants to close about 150 bases to save nearly $50 billion. The Secretary of Defense told the BRAC Commission his proposed base changes are needed to deal with the new demands of the war. The war-time demands may have saved the Albany Marine base from the cut list. The Pentagon is calling on MCLB to expand it repairs of military equipment.

The BRAC report reads like a dictionary, a 1,000 page dictionary. So, the Alliance for Progress is calling in reinforcements to help decipher the military jargon and explain which duties the base is set to lose and gain.

"We have identified some local experts, marines and former marines, that have inside information on how to understand what the recommendations are," said Chamber of Commerce President Tim Martin.

The report calls for the base to lose 42 defense logistics agency jobs to the air base in Warner Robins. "We don't have the firm, full definitions of all of this, but it could be material handlers, fork lifter drivers and other jobs in the 19 warehouses at the base," said Martin.

MCLB is set to gain 192 jobs, many in the maintenance depot. The depot will repair more military equipment, such as tanks damaged in fighting in Iraq. Also, more workers will be needed to perform diagnostic testing on all types of equipment. "It helps the mechanic understand what needs to be repaired," said Martin.

Martin says it's still too early to say exactly what kind of jobs will open at the base. He's just thankful that finding more workers, not letting them go, will likely be the challenge of the base come this fall.

Martin says the Alliance for Progress realizes MCLB isn't completely safe. Any base can be added or taken off the cut list. The Alliance will continue to monitor the BRAC commission until they make their closure recommendations to the President September 8th.

The President has until September 23rd to accept or reject the recommendations. If accepted, Congress has 45 legislative days to reject the recommendations in their entirety or they become binding.

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