CHICAGO – Responding immediately to the U.S. Department of Defense’s decision to place the Great Lakes Naval Training Center on its list of military installations recommended for closure or realignment, Gov. Rod Blagojevich expressed his deep disappointment with the Defense Department’s recommendation to eliminate some 2,000 jobs from Great lakes, the only Naval training center in the country, and vowed to keep vigorously fighting to save the station. The Governor has been leading a coordinated effort for more than two years with the Illinois Congressional Delegation, other elected officials and local leaders to prevent Illinois’ military installations from ending up on the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list that will be announced in September.
"While I’m deeply disappointed with the Defense Department’s recommendation for the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, these dedicated workers and the entire community can rest assured that this battle is not over. Great Lakes is home to the U.S. Navy's only Recruit Training Command and is the Navy’s largest training center. For more than 80 years, Great Lakes has been turning civilians into seamen and seamen into sailors, and continues to play a critical role today in our nation’s preparedness and security. Thanks to the efforts of the State, the Congressional Delegation and the local community, we have a very strong argument that the Great Lakes Training Center has tremendous military value and we will aggressively advocate for the retention of these jobs and the instrumental services they provide our nation," Gov. Blagojevich said.
Gov. Blagojevich is continuing the strong partnerships that have existed between the State of Illinois, the Congressional Delegation and the local community to preserve and strengthen the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.
Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Illinois is the central processing location for Naval recruits. Approximately 50,000 recruits pass through Great Lakes RTC annually with an estimated 15,000 recruits onboard the installation at any time and is the third largest base in the Navy. Great Lakes Service School Command (SSC) is the central training location for Naval enlisted students. Students at SSC either arrive directly from RTC or are returning from the fleet for further training. While new recruits are onboard RTC approximately nine weeks for basic training, SSC students will be onboard from two weeks to 14 months, depending on the curriculum.
The Great Lakes Naval Training Center is home to the U.S. Navy's only Recruit Training Command. The largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training center in the Navy, the base includes 1,153 buildings on 1,628 acres and uses 50 miles of roadway to provide access to the Center's facilities.
The Commission will publicly release its BRAC report by September 8th and will send it to President Bush. The President has until September 23rd to approve or disapprove the list. The BRAC list must then be sent to Congress by November 7th, who must also approve or disapprove the list.