Mohawk Valley Officials Anxious over Looming Defense Cutbacks
With 2,900 military and civilian DOD personnel, Griffiss Air Force Base remains a vital part of the economy of New York’s Mohawk Valley despite being closed following the 1993 BRAC round.
After fighting to save a Defense Finance and Accounting Service branch, a division of the Air Force Research Lab and the Eastern Air Defense Sector during the two base closure rounds since then, local officials and federal representatives are taking no chances as the Pentagon looks for ways to eliminate $450 billion in spending over the next 10 years. Additional defense cuts would be triggered if Congress fails to enact $1.2 trillion in government-wide savings before the end of the year.
“We are in territory nobody understands,” Steve DiMeo, president of Mohawk Valley EDGE, the local economic development agency, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) last week hosted a strategy session for government, military and business leaders from around the state, while Rep. Richard Hanna (R) set up a congressional working group to protect the state’s installations, according to the story.