Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 8:40 a.m., Friday, July 15, 2005

Pentagon defends Pearl Harbor shipyard against closing

By Dennis Camire
Advertiser Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is defending its decision to keep Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard open as a military judgment call because of the shipyard's strategic location and its ability to work on a variety of ships, according to a letter released Friday.

The independent panel charged with reducing the number of military bases across the country asked the Pentagon July 1 to explain why it chose to recommend closing Portsmouth Naval Shipyard instead of Pearl Harbor when military value scores favored Portsmouth.

The Defense Department is schedule to appear Monday before the panel, known as the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to defend its choices.

In its letter to the commission, the Pentagon said that while Pearl Harbor had a slightly lower quantitative military value score, it possessed a higher overall military value for the Navy.

That came from the the shipyard's "critical geographical location" - next to a significant portion of the Navy's fleet and its position in the central Pacific. In addition, it has the ability to dock a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The shipyard also is strategically located to support the Defense Department's current and future missions in the Pacific, the letter said.

"Loss of the critical asset will have an adverse impact on operational war fighting capability, training and readiness."