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Fort Huachuca and DM's future "firm and bright"

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 23:29:59-04
The jobs and money from Fort Huachuca and Davis-Monthan Air Force base are critical to our well being.
The two together add about $7 billion to the local economy. That's why local leaders often worry the bases will face deep cuts or close altogether.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Fort Huachuca in what base officials say is the first ever visit by a Secretary of Defense.
An unmanned aerial vehicle is a good example of the modern capabilities Fort Huachuca brings to the modern battlefield. Today America's Secretary of Defense visited this post and had encouraging words about its long term future.
Secretary Carter praised the troops, their service and the special qualities Fort Huachuca offers in intelligence training, unmanned aircraft and electronics testing.
Soldiers asked him questions about how best to use their skills and advance their careers.
With fears that defense cuts could cut what Fort Huachuca and Davis-Monthan add to the local economy we asked the top man in the Pentagon about the future for both places.
"I think in both cases it's pretty firm and bright as the reason I say that is that both of them are unique facilities.  Let me just speak to Huachuca here where I am right now.  If you look at Huachuca's specialties of ISR and intelligence and cyber, those are clearly a part of the joint military future," said Secretary Carter.
He went on to say Davis-Monthan also has special qualities that make it valuable.  The Secretary says D-M's specialty of training pilots to protect troops on the ground is important and the A-10 continues to prove its worth in the job even if it will be eventually replaced by a more modern plane.
You can hear part of the Q and A with Secretary Carter here.
Congresswoman Martha McSally is a retired A-10 pilot.  She urged Secretary Carter to visit both bases.  She says Sothern Arizona's bases are even more important because of the way they can work together.
"With the airspace and the weather, Davis-Monthan, the 162nd,Luke Air Force base and down here at Ft Huachuca, we have the ability for us to have realistic joint training with manned and unmanned using the amazing airspace we have here," said McSally.
Secretary Carter also praised community support here and met briefly with local leaders like Sierra Vista's Mayor.