Base Closure Discussed

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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with a group of republican Senators Thursday to talk about the Pentagon budget. Among the topics were military base closings.

Members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee told reporters they are open to new ideas for fulfilling the Pentagon's mission.

"We just can't be worried about protecting jobs when it costs the entire country a lot more money. I mean, there's about 20 percent of the bases probably, domestically, that need to be closed," said Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss. "That's going to cause a lot of political heartburn. And a lot of our colleagues are nervous because the last administration politicized BRAC. We've got to take it out of politics."

A committee to fight closure of NAS Meridian has remained active since the process was begun over a decade ago.