It’s been 12 years since the Department of Defense last realigned and closed military bases, but two powerful Texas Republicans toured Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo Monday and pointed out the reasons to keep the base around.
Goodfellow AFB was officially established in 1940; today it is used to train airmen slated for intelligence.
“The future of Goodfellow is bright,” said Sen. John Cornyn, who also serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “You can’t do something like this, not only without the men and women who serve in uniform, but also the community, the veterans, and the people who know the importance of the work that gets done here.”
Cornyn and Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas Congressional District 11 joined with leaders from the base and the city of San Angelo for a roundtable to discuss the interdependency that exists. One military leader pointed out an example of the base saving the city $50,000 by helping train firefighters. For its part, the city helps alleviate the housing demands of the base.
For the Republican pols, Goodfellow’s mission is a priority – both serve on the intelligence committees for their respective houses.
“This technological advantage makes us number one in the world,” Cornyn said at a news conference on base.
Conaway agreed and added on to Cornyn’s point saying that the current geopolitical climate puts an emphasis on intelligence training.
“Our risks and vulnerabilities are big every single day, and the men and women training here will take those skills in to the fight to be able to provide the protections we need, and/or the offensive capabilities that are being developed to protect this country,” Conaway said.
While there was much cheerleading about Goodfellow in advance of any potential BRAC, several concerns were also aired to the legislators. Base officials are still worried about housing, adding that about 90 of the base’s housing units were built in 1941. But one request that would also have benefits for the city of San Angelo is the potential installation of fiber optic network lines to increase bandwidth.
Back in November, city leaders made a trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the base and raise the points brought up Monday.
By: Andrew McMillan
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