Regional
10:30 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Pentagon Recommends Kirtland Program Closure

Credit Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
US Senator Martin Heinrich
US Senator Martin Heinrich
Credit US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

New Mexico's U.S. senators are promising to fight the Pentagon's plans to close a Kirtland Air Force Base space program to deal with the federal budget squeeze.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Operationally Responsive Space Office employs about 100 people and was set up to develop small, cheap satellites for the military.

The program would be absorbed by a California base.

During a Senate Armed Services hearing last week, the head of Air Force Space Command, Gen. William Shelton, defended the program.

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall's office said the Air Force has failed to justify the closure. His New Mexico colleague, Sen. Martin Heinrich, called the cuts, "penny-wise and pound-foolish."

A Kirtland spokeswoman told the paper it would be premature to speculate how the closure will affect the base.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.