Of note to Pennsylvania residents especially. This could be an important point in terms of saving Willow Grove airforce base from closure. Hopefully, Rendell can stay the BRAC decision (not yet in effect) to include this base in it's plans for realignments and closings.

Rumsfeld Can't Disband Willow Grove Unit, Judge Says

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld violated federal law when he recommended the Air National Guard unit at Willow Grove be disbanded, a federal judge ruled Friday, offering hope the Naval Air Station there can be saved.

U.S. District Judge John Padova of Philadelphia ruled that Rumsfeld usurped Gov. Ed Rendell's power to control the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

Rumsfeld failed to consult Rendell -- and failed to get the governor's approval -- before recommending the National Guard unit at Willow Grove be deactivated, a move that violated federal law, Padova wrote.

If it's upheld, Padova's decision could have broad implications for the base closing process now and in the future.

For the first time, a judge recognized the power of a single elected official -- specifically governors -- to block the disbanding of a military unit, an action Congress tried to prevent when it created the base closing process. The base closure law was created to block politicians from protecting jobs and facilities in specific communities.

(more in link)

Other state citizens/governor's whose bases are also up for possible changes under the BRAC may want to look into how they were informed, if at all, by Rumsfeld in regards to their closure.

Originally posted to Stand Strong on Sat Aug 27, 2005 at 06:51 PM PDT.

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