Analizan cierre del Colegio de Guerra del Ejército de EE.UU.

CARLISLE, Pennsylvania (AP) — Far from the front lines, Tommy Franks, Norman Schwarzkopf and other generals have found a peaceful place to study on the bucolic grounds of the U.S. Army War College.
They study war tactics and hone leadership skills in the college’s quaint stone buildings, located at a military installation that dates to the Revolutionary War era.
But its history and illustrious roster of graduates haven’t kept the War College off-limits as the Pentagon plans its new round of military base closings.
Based in central Pennsylvania for 54 years, the college is considered vulnerable to relocation to a larger Army post because of its small size. Its home is the 500-acre Carlisle Barracks, and it costs nearly $50 million a year to operate while serving about 300 residential students.
«I know they’re looking at it,» said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania, whose district encompasses most of Carlisle Barracks.
Other military communities across the country are also nervously awaiting Friday’s expected announcement on closures. The Pentagon, which wants to save billions by streamlining operations, is to make public its recommendations to the nine-member Base Realignment and Closure commission.
Carlisle Barracks, which employs more than 1,600 people, is also home to a commissary, health clinics and an Army heritage center. It became an American military post in the 1770s.
A tree by which George Washington rallied troops still stands, as does a restored version of a building that was burned down by Confederate troops but is now used for family housing.
For nearly 40 years beginning in 1879, the post served as the grounds for a school to train American Indians — among them 1912 Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe. In the 1920s, the War Department resumed control of the post, and it has served as the location of various types of military schools since. The War College was moved here from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1951.
The War College typically has about 600 students, mostly colonels or lieutenant colonels in the Army or the equivalent in other branches. Half participate in a two-year program primarily on the Internet, and others participate in a 10-month course on campus. Its student body includes officers from other countries.
Pennsylvania officials are concerned that the college could be moved to the Washington area or returned to Fort Leavenworth, which now trains midlevel officers.
The War College is close enough to the Pentagon to attract important guests but far enough away to allow students to focus on their studies.
«It’s great because of the environment, the setting, the school. You take a year to read, to study, and basically think about our profession,» said Army Lt. Col. Tim Gorrell, 47. «You can bounce off ideas with people of different backgrounds, and it really solidifies what you are being exposed to here.»
As a show of support, Cumberland County donated a $2.5 million parcel of land to build the Army Heritage Center and is also committed to contributing an equal amount of money. The state donated $12 million to the center, which educates the public about Army history.
The county executive, John Connelly, said losing Carlisle Barracks would be a blow to the state as well as to veterans and military families who receive medical care there or use the commissary.
«I would just hope that real consideration would be given to the tradition and the economic factors, where people are biting their nails in Pennsylvania as to what’s going to happen next, after we’ve had so many closures,» Republican Sen. Arlen Specter told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during an April 27 congressional hearing.
In the past four base closures, the last a decade ago, Pennsylvania lost 16,500 jobs.
Loren Thompson, a military expert at the Lexington Institute, a think tank in Arlington, Virginia, said he believes moving expenses and the school’s international reputation weigh against its relocation.
«There’s an intangible quality difficult to measure which can be easily destroyed,» he said. «You don’t destroy something like that without thinking twice.»

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