Cantwell: Statement on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Reaching Initial Operating Capability

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement on Joint Base Lewis-McChord reaching initial operating capability. Joint Base Lewis-McChord is one of 12 such joint military installations across the nation being consolidated from 25 Army, Navy, and Air Force installations as a result of a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) order.


“Today marks a significant day for Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This October when Lewis-McChord is fully operational, it will be the largest military installation on the west coast of the United States. This assures that Lewis-McChord will remain a vital link in U.S. national security for decades to come.


“For decades, both Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base have made significant contributions to the United States’ defense efforts. Currently there are a total of 194 McChord Airmen deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and approximately 16,000 military personnel deployed from Fort Lewis. By combining the bases, the U.S. military will enhance coordination and cooperation between military service branches for training and operations.


“At a time when jobs and employment are our top priority, the Lewis-McChord joint base plan will not result in any job losses, and will actually create new jobs as the two bases merge into one military center managing both army and air force operations.  During the last BRAC process, I fought to ensure Washington state’s military bases stayed open and remained vital players in our nation’s defense efforts, and as Joint Base Lewis-McChord builds up its operations over the course of this year, I will continue this effort.”