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UPDATE: BRAC meeting opens in St. Louis

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U.S. Senator Kit Bond is sworn in before testifying this morning at the BRAC meeting (UPI photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Members of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission - BRAC - opened their meeting in St. Louis this morning (Monday) to hear from polticians and others about proposed military base closings.

Today's meeting allows for discussion on the plans for seven Midwestern states, including Missouri and Illinois.

The meeting is being held at the Busch Student Center at Saint Louis University.

Three BRAC members started hearing from people at about 8:30 this morning about the Pentagon's plan to close 180 installations.

One recommendation is to move the fighter jets that the 131st Fighter Wing uses at Lambert Airport out of state.

U.S. Senator Kit Bond (R-Missouri) was among the first speakers of the day. He told commissioners the 131st move was made without following homeland security rules.

"The decision to remove the 131st creates a regional vulnerability that stands in direct contradiction to the Homeland Security principles outlined by the Air Force, the Secretary of Defense, and the President," Bond said.

The BRAC commission needs to approve the cuts before sending them to Congress and the President. Missouri and Illinois' governors are planning to speak, as are a number of other officials.

ILLINOIS VISIT

Meanwhile, another member of the BRAC commission will visit Springfield, Ill. today to tour the Air National Guard base that's been targeted for cuts.

The 183rd Fighter Wing is one of the units the military wants to move out of Illinois at the cost of 163 jobs.

Economically, the base contributes more than $44 million into the region each year.

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