A northwest Missouri lawmaker says the Show-Me State should be “kept off the chopping block” when it comes to future rounds of base closings.
State Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, says Missouri sees $14 billion annually in military spending, which translates into about 200,000 direct and indirect jobs for Missourians.
Senator Hegeman also notes the Missouri National Guard has about 11,800 citizen soldiers, including some at the 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph.
Hegeman, who represents 15 northwest Missouri counties, also says military spending has a major impact on tourism.
The Cosby Republican says 200,000 people visit southern Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood annually for military graduations, staying in area hotels and eating in local restaurants.
BRAC stands for Base Realignment and Closure. It is the congressionally-authorized process that the Defense Department has used to reorganize its base structure.
In September, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D) told Missourinet Waynesville affiliate KJPW Radio (AM 1390) that building a new hospital at Fort Leonard Wood and enhancing airline service to the post are vital to the Fort’s long-term sustainability.
The Fort’s website says Fort Leonard Wood trains about 80,000 military and civilians annually, and also supports a colonel-commanded Marine Corps Detachment and an Air Force Detachment.
McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told KJPW in September that she’s working with other lawmakers and stakeholders to attract more training missions to Fort Leonard Wood.