Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said Thursday that he might ask Congress to close more military bases as a money-saving move in an effort “to try to create a leaner, more efficient” structure for America’s armed forces.
Cheney, in his first lengthy interview since taking office March 17, said a base-closing initiative undertaken last year by the Reagan Administration was “a hell of an idea” but “obviously a first-time effort. We may well want to go further and start again.
“While I understand the problems that some of my former colleagues (in Congress) face--individual situations in their districts--I just have to believe that there are opportunities for economies in reviewing a base structure that has been basically unchanged for 50 or 60 years,” the former congressman said.
The base-closing initiative began last year with an independent commission crafting a plan to close 86 installations, most of them relatively small, and to partially close five others for a projected savings of $5.6 billion over 20 years.
Cheney also said he could not support any type of compulsory “national service” plan for Americans when they turn 18, but would not object to a carefully crafted, voluntary plan that recognized the need to staff the all-volunteer military.