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Oklahoma military bases brace for BRAC announcement

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Military officials and political leaders will learn whether their efforts will be rewarded next week, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recommends which military bases should be closed or realigned.

The suggestions are being nervously awaited by those who say the closure of any of Oklahoma's five military installations would devastate local economies.

The state's bases are Tinker Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base, Fort Sill Army Post in Lawton, Vance Air Force Base in Enid and the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. The state also has two Air National Guard facilities that are part of the evaluation.

Rumsfeld faces a May 16th deadline to make his recommendations and has tentatively scheduled an announcement for next Friday.

Congressman Tom Cole says he feels very comfortable about where the state is. He says Vance and Altus could face tough competition in the BRAC process because they're small enough that their missions could be merged with other installations.
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