Cohen Will Seek New Base Closings

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Looking to help pay for the high-tech 21st Century military that he says is the Defense Department's future, Defense Secretary William Cohen is asking Congress for a new round of base closures to help foot the bill. To pay for a fleet of new F-22 Stealth Fighters and F-A-18 Super Hornets while limiting annual budgets to under $250 billion, Pentagon budget planners estimate they need annual savings of $15 billion over the next four years. Although Cohen likes to point out that post-Cold War reductions in the military have pared active duty forces by 33 percent but the military's base structure by only 18 percent, Congress may not be in the mood to listen. Representatives with districts that would likely be affected by a new round of closings were quick to jump on the proposal. "Does "Over my dead body!' make it clear enough?" said Colorado Republican Joel Hefley, chairman of the House National Security subcommittee on military installations.