Fayetteville must plan shrewdly to defend 440th

March 17, 2014 

The following editorial appeared in the Fayetteville Observer:

“We have a fight to fight,” said Doug Peters, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Regional Chamber.

That battle will pit a coalition of local governments, business and community groups against Pentagon leaders who want to deactivate the 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Field, leaving Fort Bragg’s elite airborne troops without means to gain altitude.

Congressional action on the proposal seems unlikely before November. But President Obama may get the smaller military he wants by sidestepping the legislative branch.

All these organizations’ commitment to a united front is essential. They also need a winning battle plan. If the president can circumvent Congress, a shrewd strategy is convincing those who have his ear that a transfer is costly to national security, the economic well-being of the region and the political fortunes of the president’s party.

North Carolina’s congressional Democrats may want to warn Obama that this ill-advised move could hurt them politically. Even if he can cut the military without them, he’ll need them elsewhere and can hardly afford to damage his party in November.

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