Could Ellsworth be a target for base closure? - KOTA Territory News

Could Ellsworth be a target for base closure?

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With massive military cuts on the way, could Ellsworth's future be in jeopardy?

Ellsworth has been targeted for closure twice, in 1995 and in 2005.

Eight years ago, the Ellsworth Task Force fought to keep the base open and eventually convinced the air force to take it off the short list of bases targeted for closure.

In the past, base closures have saved the military nearly $12 billion a year...but the new budget is calling for $41 billion to be cut, meaning more drastic cuts must take place, which means tough decisions are going to have to be made.

"The Air Force in my opinion in the long haul, has a challenge to go through and do the hard work of finding those bases that could be consolidated to be brought together more efficiently. But the easy thing to do is shut down a bomber base," said Senator Bruce Rampelberg (R-Dist. 30), the chairman of the Ellsworth Air Force Task Force back in 2005.

"In 2005 they didn't cut any real major installations. The only big base that was on that list was Ellsworth and it was taken off. So they didn't do the closures that they should have done in 2005," said Jack Siebold, military analyst and journalist.

Any proposed cuts will have to go through numerous levels of red tape, as Congress has yet to allow another round of base closures to take place.

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