TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher to condemn the inclusion of Fort Monmouth in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list was approved today by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee by a vote of 4-0.
“Closing Fort Monmouth is a blow to the region, and will weaken the military’s overall technological might in the long run,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “In it’s nearly 90 years of service, Fort Monmouth has consistently demonstrated its worth on the battlefield by leading in the development of technology that has kept our troops safe. It is also the biggest employer in Monmouth County, and I fear that the status of the base and the status of our booming economy at the Shore may be intractable without creative solutions and a lot of luck.”
On May 13, the Department of Defense announced that it was recommending that Fort Monmouth be included for BRAC consideration, along with 30 other major military installations across the country. Following the announcement, local leaders, municipal and State officials and advocates, including Senator Karcher, made many attempts to press the case for the base, but ultimately, the Defense Department stood by its initial ruling and the President accepted those recommendations on Sept. 23.
Senator Karcher noted that the Senate Resolution is a formal way of recording the State’s grievances with the federal government.
“I want it on record that we fought for this, as a bipartisan coalition, because the damage that closing Fort Monmouth will have on the local economic landscape is going to be devastating,” said Senator Karcher. “Unless we’re incredibly lucky to bring in high-tech employers to replace the Fort, the municipalities around the base may become a fiscal sinkhole, bringing down the rest of the county’s economy into collapse. I want future generations of Monmouth County residents to know that we tried, and I want the federal government to know the human impact on their decision to save a few dollars and cents.”
The bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration, and if approved, is filed with the State Secretary of Defense and transmitted to the Secretary of Defense and the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.