Wednesday, August 24, 2005

NJ's Fort Monmouth to Close - Our Loss

New Jersey awoke this morning to the news that its Fort Monmouth, which is home to a number of military communications, intelligence, and surveilance operations, will be shut down. The closure is part of the Defense Department effort to slim down the number of bases in the United States, and was approved today by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which is voting on each base's fate. Five thousand New Jerseyans are employed at Fort Monmouth, and those jobs will, with the base's shut-down, be sent out of state. The estimated $2.5 billion in economic impact in the state will also vanish.

Blanton's and Ashton's, an NJ blog, lamented the closure, and attacked it as just another example of New Jersey getting slighted by Washington. Blogger G.D. Frogsdong notes that the state gets back just $0.57 in federal spending for every federal tax dollar we New Jerseyans pay, putting us behind every other state in the nation in that category.

The Pentagon clearly can do whatever it feels necessary when it comes to base realignment, but it's interesting that an installation working on projects that are so central to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be marked for closure. A press release from Senator Frank Lautenberg cites the signal jammers developed at Fort Monmouth, where Lautenberg - veteran of the Army Signal Corps - received part of his military training, "to thwart Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) such as roadside bombs." Lautenberg and Senator Corzine were both outspoken on the fort's importance, as were Democratic Representatives Rush Holt and Frank Pallone.

Either New Jersey's Democrats in Congress are overstating the Fort's value to the military, or the Pentagon has made a big mistake. In any case, New Jersey is again getting short shrift.


At 2:51 PM, Blogger DBK said...

Nice summary of the story. I looked into the work being done at Fort Monmouth when the story first came up, just by searching the internet, and found that the research at FM had won some really bigtime military awards not just once but twice in recent years, the last one being given THIS PAST SPRING.

Then there's this story in which Senator Lautenberg is cited for calling out the fact that Red States are showing an average job gain of 11,000 per state while Blue States are showing an average job loss of 25,000 per state. If that doesn't stink of partisan politics I don't know what does.


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