Looking for ways to lessen economic pain for California and Texas, President Clinton directed Pentagon officials Saturday to provide more answers about prospects for privatizing jobs at military bases in the two states.
Clinton met for 90 minutes with Defense Secretary William Perry and other top officials to discuss the latest recommendations from a commission on base closings.
The independent Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission has recommended that maintenance centers at McClellan Air Force Base in California and Kelly Air Force Base in Texas be shut down and the work be parceled out to other bases. In the case of Kelly, the commission left privatization as an option.
Perry has made it clear that he favors shifting some military work to private employers as a way to preserve jobs.”He is concerned about military effectiveness and the cumulative economic impact of the decision,” said White House spokeswoman Mary Ellen Glynn.
McClellan’s future has become a hot political issue because of the impact of previous base closings on California and because of the importance of that state’s 54 electoral votes to Clinton’s re-election hopes.