Liason: Special Ops unit only one to inquire about Cannon

Freedom Newspapers

The Air Force Special Operations Command is the only agency that has submitted a proposal for the use of Cannon Air Force Base, according to Lt. Col. Gary Jones of Cannon.

Despite the lone proposal, “no decision has been made,” in regards to the future of Cannon at this time, said Jones, who serves as a liaison between Cannon and Clovis Municipal Schools. He spoke Tuesday at a school board meeting.

Air Force officials previously declined to release the number of entities interested in occupying Canon. A workshop for interested parties was held in March, but Air Force officials would not say who attended.

Several Cannon advocates did not return Freedom Newspapers phone calls Tuesday.

Air Force Special Operations officials visited Cannon twice, late last year and early this year, Cannon officials said previously.

Earlier this year, federal agencies were invited to submit proposals for the use of Cannon Air Force Base as part of the Department of Defense search for a new mission at Cannon. That search is being conducted at the urging of a federal commission, who negated a Department of Defense recommendation to close Cannon last August and requested that the department find a new mission for Cannon or close the base by 2010. The commission also promised Cannon’s F-16 squadrons, known as the 27th Fighter Wing, to various installations across the country.

The departure of the jets has been tentatively scheduled for 2007, according to Jones.

“During the calendar year of 2007 draw-down will begin. We are just beginning that planning process, of deactivating the fighter wing,” Jones said.

“That project will being in earnest (then). Those particulars are still being fleshed out,” he said.

The Air Force, charged with heading the search for a new Cannon mission, is in the process of analyzing compatible, conflicting and overlapping proposed uses for Cannon, Jones indicated. This is the seventh step in the process that will end with a recommendation for the future of Cannon to the Secretary of Defense.

The Secretary of Defense remains committed to make a decision on Cannon AFB by Summer 2006, Secretary of Air Force Public Affairs spokesperson Shirley Curry wrote in a previous e-mail to the Clovis News Journal.