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Larsen meets with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to discuss military communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, met on Thursday, March 29, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, as part a bipartisan group of representatives, to discuss military communities and the Department of Defense's request for a new Base Realignment and Closure round. Larsen's district includes Naval Station Everett, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and the Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center which was commissioned on Sunday, April 1.
"[This] meeting with Secretary Panetta was an important opportunity to discuss the importance of military bases to the communities that house them," Larsen said. "While the Department of Defense has requested another Base Realignment and Closure round, it is a nonstarter in Congress."
According to Larsen, Panetta assured the group that the Defense Department would not move forward with BRAC without Congressional support.
"Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Naval Station Everett and the newly opening Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center are integral parts of our communities' personalities and economies," Larsen said. "Even if a BRAC round were to be initiated, our installations are in a stronger position than ever. The Navy's recent decision to move three new destroyers to Everett, and their renewed commitment to bring the P-8As to Whidbey Island, shows the Department understands the bases' strategic importance and their communities' support for their presence."
Larsen believes that Panetta understands that military personnel are important residents of their communities, and that any changes to bases must be made with the understanding of the impact on their neighbors.