He warned that the base could be among those considered for closure as part of a planned Base Realignment and Closure process in 2015.
Speaking at a press conference outside the base’s west gate, Cooke, a former Army major general, said loss of some leadership, star rank, an air force wing and jobs all signal negative consequences for the state’s economic future.
The base so far has lost about 160 jobs with officials uncertain how many more might be cut. About 23,000 people, mostly civilians, work on base. The changes, including job losses, have been part of President Obama’s cost-cutting efforts.
The Democratic contender for the state’s chief executive position based his remarks on weeks of research with the Pentagon and military officials. He also has 39 years of experience as an Army veteran rising to the rank of major general, where he led 10,000 army reservists in six states. He also led an effort to bring job opportunities to veterans across the nation, provided information said.
“The question we must ask ourselves in Utah is this: ‘Is Hill AFB better off today than it was a year ago?’ The plain answer is no,” Cooke said. “By taking these actions late last fall, the Air Force has sent a signal to Hill and other bases about which military bases are gaining favor and which are losing favor as the 2015 Base Realignment and Closure approaches.”
For more information check out the August 2 edition of Davis Clipper.