Created: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 05:25:00 EST
Updated: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:56:11 EST
Former U.S. representative, Jim Marshall is optimistic about Robins Air Force Base’s future while discussing America’s budget problems and budget cuts to the military.
Marshall who is also a former Macon mayor serves on the National Defense Panel which is comprised of 10 people selected by Congress and the Department of Defense. He and others review long term military plans and assess the risks and strategies.
On Thursday he spoke to an audience at the Museum of Aviation discussing the panel’s findings on the Quadrennial Defense Review. Marshall says Congress cutting military funding is not helpful to America’s future.
"Our view is that the Defense Department should be planning beyond the current topline and that the needed resources should be provided if that means going into debt or it means cutting other programs,” Marshall said. “Congress must provide for the collective defense of the United States and it's not doing a very good job right now."
Marshall adds when defense spending is dramatically reduced, it leads to problems.
"It increases the likely hood of global problems, those problems arise, we not only have a security issue but a deflated economy and consequentially we're a good pit poorer."
Marshall suggests Congress increase in defense spending should focus on technology. He acknowledges RAFB as the center of excellence for electronic warfare and recommends the base extending technological capabilities outside its branch to make it more competitive in case of base realignment and closure in the future.
"I broaden it beyond the Air Force,” he said. “Command and control battle management, ISR (intelligence, surveillance, target) those sorts of things are opportunities for Robins I think."
The panel’s review is just another piece to the debate, but doesn't control it. As for RAFB’s future, Marshall says there's about 20 percent excess capacity in the U.S. but is optimistic if the base diversifies itself, it will survive a round of BRAC.
“I think the Air Force is committed to three depots at the moment and I'm convinced that Robins, if it's properly prepared will do quite well.”