WASHINGTON - In a blow to the nation's capital, the base closing commission voted Thursday to shut down the Army's historic Walter Reed hospital and move about 20,000 defense workers miles away from their offices near the Pentagon.
The nine-member panel endorsed much of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's broader plan to streamline support services across the Army, Navy and Air Force. In many cases, it voted to merge programs scattered around military facilities across the country to centralized locations.
Late Thursday, the commission also voted to approve its own proposal to close the Galena Airport Forward Operation Location in Alaska, which the Air Force uses to land jets when necessary. The commercial airport there would continue operating. The Pentagon had not recommended the closure.
But it did sign off on the Pentagon's plans to close Onizuka Air Force Station in California.