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Commission Calls on Pentagon to Defend Stay at MCRD

The chairman of the federal government’s independent base closure commission has asked Pentagon brass for explanations of why Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, and the nearby Navy Broadway Complex, are not on its base closure list.

In a July 1 letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Anthony Principi, chairman of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, offered a critique of the base closure list the Pentagon released May 13, outlining 12 areas that need more scrutiny.

One of Principi’s questions: Why was Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego not closed and consolidated with the recruit depot at Parris Island, S.C.?

“Military value of MCRD San Diego is lower than MCRD Parris Island partially due to encroachment and land constraints,” said an enclosure with Principi’s letter.

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Regarding the Broadway complex, which is at Harbor Drive and Broadway and also is known as Navy Region Southwest, the letter’s enclosure says: “Consolidating Navy activities in a more secure location at the Naval Station complex at 32nd Street could improve security and allow for future commercial development.”

Principi has asked Rumsfeld for a written explanation by July 18 and for elaboration at a public hearing on the same day in Washington, D.C.

Erik Bruvold, vice president of public affairs at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., cautioned that Principi’s letter is by no means a final decision on the San Diego facilities.

Bruvold said his agency will make a presentation at the closure commission’s July 14 hearing in Los Angeles. He said his agency’s presentation will center on the value of the recruit depot and the challenges the military would have working solely at Parris Island. “We’re very skeptical that Marine Corps recruit training could be consolidated at Parris Island,” he said.

MCRD San Diego employs 1,725 members of the military and 906 civilians, according to a study put together by the economic development corporation.

Principi also sent a letter to members of Congress, which says in part, “please be assured that the commission has not decided to close or realign any installations.”

Adding a base to the closure list would take the vote of seven of the nine commission members.

Brad Graves

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