NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Could a new mission prevent the Pentagon from slashing jobs at the Niagara Falls Airbase?
With hundreds of jobs now on the chopping block, local lawmakers say they are pulling out all the stops to help the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. A possible new mission could involve spy planes.
The spy mission is among a couple of options Congresswoman Kathy Hochul and others have been pushing.
"This is one of the many missions we're looking at and recommending that the Air Force allow us to continue here," said Rep. Hochul.
About 850 jobs are at stake. The Air Force is looking to restructure base operations, specifically doing away with the base's Air National Guard unit, the 107th Air Lift Wing. The Buffalo News is reporting that a spy mission for the unit could be an option and a way to prevent deep cuts to the unit.
Merrell Lane is the chairman of the Niagara Military Affairs Council and says, "I'm very encouraged. I think we have a real possibility of saving maybe not all the jobs but many of them and that's a big important part of western New York because job retention, we've struggled with that for years."
Meanwhile, the frantic work continues to convince the Pentagon to give the 107th another mission. John Cooper, vice chairman of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, says he is also encouraged.
"We're excited to see that there's a lot of information going back and forth within government to make sure that we have everything covered," he said.
Rep. Hochul says she and others have also asked the Air Force for other possible missions, like special operations and cyber security.
"We don't know the end game. But we do know that we're going to try our darndest to make sure that they recognize us, the value that we have here," assured Hochul.
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