Brooklyn, NY – With deep cuts in defense spending and New York State military installations at-risk for reductions in resources beginning next year, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, stood at Fort Hamilton’s Armed Forces Reserve Center today announcing that she will convene a statewide conference in New York on October 14th to begin efforts to prepare and protect Fort Hamilton. The Senator aims to bring together military communities and business chambers throughout the city and state to strongly position New York’s bases to ensure they survive cuts and closures. Senator Gillibrand has asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to partner in this effort to develop plans for Fort Hamilton and New York’s military bases.
Over the next decade, the Defense Department must find almost $400 billion in savings. Senator Gillibrand pointed out that one of the areas these cuts will likely come from is through base closures, known as BRAC. As early as 2013, New York State may face the start of a new base closure round with a Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission deciding which military bases to close around 2015. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Gillibrand will review any plans for a new BRAC and propose legislation that guides future BRAC determinations.
“New York remains the number one target for terrorists around the world who want to harm Americans,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Fort Hamilton’s greatest strength lies in its ability to serve as the central national security hub for federal agencies in New York City. With the military facing deep cuts, just like the rest of the country, we need to take proactive steps to ensure that this critical Brooklyn base – the only military base in New York City, withstands any cuts and threat of closure.”
Colonel Michael Gould said, “Fort Hamilton can indeed be a hub which would not only improve collaboration and effectiveness, but also efficiency and generate real cost savings for not only the Army, but also the federal government.”
Senator Gillibrand discussed ways to ensure that Fort Hamilton can withstand any cuts, including making sure that the Brooklyn base increases its mission by bringing in additional federal agencies with similar operational and training needs. This joint operating concept can achieve synergy and reduce costs. Senator Gillibrand plans to request the administration to study the feasibility of bringing more agencies to Fort Hamilton.
As the New York City’s only active military base, Fort Hamilton plays an important role in preventing terrorism in the New York City area and providing immediate response and support in the event of a terrorist attack. Fort Hamilton is also the country’s second largest Military Entrance Processing Station, which processes and screens approximately 11,000 recruits per year.
Since 1993, New York has lost six military installations. But in 2005, several bases were saved due to strong New York State efforts. To prevent further cuts and closures, Fort Hamilton and New York must be in a strong position to demonstrate that its bases are critical to the country’s national security and economy.
Earlier in the day, Senator Gillibrand met with Brigadier General Peter Deluca, Colonel Michael Gould, Commander Erin McAvoy, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Davis, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Riley, and Chief Michael Kowalski, and New York City soldiers.
Senator Gillibrand served on the Armed Services Committee as a member of the House of Representatives. The Senator is committed to continuing to improve the lives of America’s Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, their families, and our veterans from her seat on the Armed Services Committee in the Senate.