NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Pentagon is committed to protecting a western New York air base that had been the target of potential cutbacks.
Panetta made the comments on a visit to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is scheduled for Thursday.
The largest employer in Niagara County, the base is home to the 914th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve and the 107th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard. It was threatened with shutdown in 2005 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, but ultimately was spared.
The government has made several investments in the base since then, including construction of a processing center for new recruits and a new firing range, but its long-term future is uncertain.