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Rumsfeld: Base Closures to Save $48.8B

May 12, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday that his recommendations for closing and realigning domestic military bases would save $48.8 billion over a 20-year period.

Rumsfeld is scheduled to submit his recommendations to an independent base closing commission on Friday.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld did not say how many bases he would recommend closing. He said he was aware that base closures have significant economic impact.

``The changes that occur will affect a number of communities,″ he said.

He said the Pentagon will take an active role in assisting communities that are negatively affected.

The military for years has been operating more bases than it needed for the 1.4 million troops on active duty. Throughout the late 1990s the Congress refused to authorize a round of base closings.

Previous official estimates put the base capacity surplus at between 20 and 25 percent, a range that Rumsfeld frequently cited as justification for initiating the politically painful process of deciding which bases to close.

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