With barely a week passed since winning a reprieve from the 2005 BRAC hit list, New Mexico officials are already pursuing a new mission for Cannon Air Force Base, near Clovis, N.M. The base will lose the 27th Fighter Wing and its F-16s but, per the BRAC commission, has until 2009 to come up with a new mission. Both Gov. Bill Richardson and the state’s Congressional representatives have started talking with DOD. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Richardson sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday, reiterating the state’s support for the Pentagon’s efforts and requested a visit to Cannon by acting Deputy Secretary Gordon England. Rumsfeld might not be so eager to send an emissary, since the Pentagon proposed closing Cannon outright.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.