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CLOSE 6 NAVY PORTS, GAO SUGGESTS

The General Accounting Office, putting itself at odds with a special base closure commission, recommended Friday that all six new Navy home ports be closed because the Navy is shrinking.

"The expanded homeporting structure is not necessary to accommodate the Navy's fleet, most of the original objectives of the strategic homeporting program will not be met, and fiscal realities require reductions in the defense budget," Congress's investigative arm said in a report to two senior House members.The report, however, may be a bit after the fact because last week a special base closure commission recommended that five of the six facilities remain operational.

The commission decided to exempt from consideration for at least two years five of the six towns. Only Staten Island, N.Y., was left on the panel's list of facilities under consideration for closure.

The commission will make its final decisions on what bases to close at the end of June.