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Task Force Seeks To Position Scott Air Force Base To Thrive Even After Defense Budget Cuts

(via Flickr/KurtClark)
The KC-135 is an aerial refueling tanker. The aircraft is critical to the operations at Scott Air Force Base.

Although sequestration could soon be at an endif President Obama signs the compromise budget into law as expected, the Department of Defense is still facing budget cuts. And another round of Base Realignments and Closings (BRAC) is expected in a few years. That puts Scott Air Force Base in a potentially precarious position.

With that in mind, a civilian task force was formed in May by the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois. As a member-based organization focused on economic development, the council was concerned about the future of one of the major economic engines for the region.

“I don’t think you can reduce those missions at Scott, the question is could those missions be done somewhere else. And that’s the fear that the specter of a BRAC raises, that those could be consolidated into some other installation,” said task force member and retired general of the U.S. Air Force Jack Griffith.

To get ahead of that possibility, the task force is seeking to instead grow the missions brought to Scott.

“We think as decisions are being made, that there are other missions that might be able to come from other areas of the country and come to Scott Air Force Base,” former U.S. Representative Jerry Costello said in a previously recorded interview. He recently signed on as a consultant for the task force.

Now that the task force has gained the consulting aid of Costello and former general Duncan McNabb, it is looking ahead and formulating a plan.

"Right now we are just making sure we understand the current state. So we've met with our mayors and the county board chairs. And we've met with some of the Scott Air Force Base leadership. And we're looking at what are the opportunities, what are the threats. What are our strengths and weaknesses? And the next step in this is to develop a strong work plan with actions that we can implement," task force co-chair and Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Executive Director Ellen Krohne said.

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.

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