Niagara Gazette

Opinion

November 26, 2012

HIGGS: Time to salute the folks at NIMAC

Niagara Gazette — NIMAC, another alphabet soup organization that deserves some applause for its success in living up to its mission, is the topic of discussion this week.

According to its website, “The mission of the Niagara Military Affairs Council is to support the continued growth and prosperity of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. NIMAC serves as a liaison to promote communication between the base, the community, other local military units, business and government.”

The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is a U.S. Air Force base, located at the Niagara Falls International Airport. It is home to the Air Force Reserve Command’s 914th Airlift Wing. The 328th Airlift Squadron operates Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft from this airfield. The New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing (107AW) shares the 914the AW’s C-130 aircraft.

NIMAC was formed in 1996 following a grueling public discourse involving the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRACC). The commission recommended closure of the Falls air base as part of its national mission to reduce military installations as established by the Department of Defense. Surviving this round of closures, NIMAC was organized to oppose any future closure possibilities.

The mission was tested again in 2005 when the Department of Defense’s BRACC recommended the closure of the United States Army Reserve Center and Army Maintenance Support Activity at Niagara Falls. Since NIMAC had been working closely with congressional leaders urging update of the facilities and increase missions, they were called into action again and once more were successful in keeping the base open and operating. The commission found that the savings associated with closing the Falls air base were overestimated by the Department of Defense as a result of recent cost reductions.

Local leader Merrell Lane serves as long-time chairperson of the board of directors and along with John Cooper, current Vice-Chairperson, they have become the face and the voice of this organization since its inception. Working with lobbyists Hyjek and Fix in the nation’s capitol and with the assistance of our area’s former Congressional representative Louise Slaughter, former Congressman Thomas Reynolds and U. S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, they were able to retain and further update these important local facilities.

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