BRAC Early Bird August 6, 2005 Page: 4 of 12
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August 05, 2005
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski told Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday that he
would sue to prevent Rumsfeld's department
from carrying out its plan to shift 18 F-15 jet
fighters and more than 100 people from Portland
to bases in other states.
"I do not consent to the deactivation, relocation
or withdrawal of the 142nd Fighter Wing,"
Kulongoski wrote in a letter to Rumsfeld
released Tuesday. "It is my present intention to
file a lawsuit in Oregon's federal district court ..
. to stop the proposed actions."
The governor called the warning a "prelude" to
the filing of lawsuits by Oregon and other states
with Air National Guard units that would be
relocated under the Defense Department's 2005
Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)
proposal. The proposal, announced in May, is
under review by an independent commission
that can add to or subtract from the Defense
Department's list of proposed changes. The
commission is scheduled to announce its final
decision Sept. 8.
The Pentagon's proposal for the Portland Air
National Guard base would shift 18 F-15s to
bases in Louisiana and New Jersey, and replace
them with two other F-15s. Guard officials say
the base would lose 452 civilian and 112
The Defense Department reconfigures its
military units periodically in an effort to
streamline services and save money. Because
each base can have a significant economic
impact on the cities and states where they are
located, the federal government formalized the
base realignment process, which is intended to
limit political arguments. Under the process, the
president accepts all or none of the commission's
Nevertheless, the current round of base
realignment proposals has triggered sharp
opposition in many regions. Some local officials
are concerned about economic impacts; others
about regional security and other matters. But
the use of the base realignment process to
restructure the Air National Guard has raised a
potent new area of legal argument.
Until National Guard units are activated and
deployed by the federal government, they are
under the command of the governors. A key,
unresolved question about the base realignment
proposal is whether the defense secretary has the
authority to shift people and equipment that are
under the command of governors, rather than
In recent weeks, the commission has challenged
the Defense Department's reasoning for the
proposed changes to the Air National Guard. It
has called on the department to explain why it
wants to shift people from as many as 54 Air
National Guard installations around the country,
Last week, the Adjutants General Association of
the United States, the organization made up of
members that are the top officials of each state's
military department, told the base commission
that the proposals to restructure Air National
Guard units "are beyond the scope of the Base
Closure Act" and should be dropped from the
base realignment process.
Kulongoski said Tuesday he is "very optimistic
that Oregon will prevail" in its effort to keep the
fighter wing at the Portland Air National Guard
When the BRAC commission came to Portland
in June for a public hearing on the proposal,
Kulongoski, Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and
Gordon Smith and other officials testified that
the proposal to shift all but two F-15s from the
Portland Air National Guard base would leave
the Northwest dangerously vulnerable to
terrorist threats. Wyden said in June the changes
would make the region "a sacrifice zone" if
But Kulongoski said Tuesday that the question
of legal authority is an important, separate issue
that must be settled. He said a number of other
states, like Oregon, are preparing to file suit.
BRAC Commission Early Bird
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. BRAC Early Bird August 6, 2005, text, August 28, 2005; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc23307/m1/4/: accessed September 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.