Scaling back its plans to shut down more military installations in California, the Defense Department has targeted only the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and a small Air Force base near Sunnyvale on its recommended hit list to be unveiled today, according to congressional sources.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) learned late Monday that nearly 40 other military installations in the state have survived the scrutiny of Defense Department experts looking to trim bases that the Pentagon can no longer afford in the post-Cold War era. A number of other California bases had been rumored to be on the list, including an Army base in Oakland.
"It is my understanding that the Oakland Army Base is off the list, and that's very good news," Feinstein said in a statement after she was briefed by Deputy Defense Secretary John M. Deutch.
Feinstein and Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) also were informed that neither the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, at Point Mugu nor the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Port Hueneme is recommended for closure.
"I'm elated," Gallegly said after getting word on the bases in his Ventura County district.
But congressional sources said the Pentagon will recommend that Onizuka Air Force Base, a Sunnyvale installation that monitors satellites, transfer many of its 1,500 civilian and military personnel to a sister base in Colorado.
Deutch, in making his courtesy calls to members of Congress who represent targeted bases, did not reveal the details of the expected shuffling of jobs and duties among bases spared.
Those details are scheduled to be released this morning when Defense Secretary William Perry forwards the Pentagon's recommendations to the independent Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission.
The commissioners, under a mandate from Congress, will have four months to review the list and remove bases from it or add others.
The independent commission also could scrap the Pentagon's suggestions and come up with its own list of targeted bases. But in earlier base-closure rounds, the commissioners have closely followed the suggestions from Pentagon experts.
Once the list is completed, it must be approved or rejected as a whole by President Clinton and Congress.
Los Angeles-area House members are fighting for the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. They have noted to the commission the benefits of maintaining a shipyard so close to the heavy concentration of Navy vessels in San Diego.