Crawford: Pentagon to Reshape Military

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Bill Crawford, deputy director of the Mississippi Development Authority, and Gov. Haley Barbour visited Columbus Air Force Base Tuesday.

All the state's defense facilities survived previous rounds of base closings in 1991, 1993 and 1995.

There are nine bases in eight communities in Mississippi, including pilot training facilities at Meridian, Columbus and Biloxi.

A list of bases targeted for closure is expected to be released in May 2005.

Crawford said the proposed cuts are being driven by the Pentagon's desire to reshape the military into a fighting force for the new century.

Crawford said Pentagon officials will soon be asking base commanders about whether they have room for future growth, and local communities must be able to show they can support the expansions.