The closure of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, and more than a dozen other military healthcare facilities moved a step nearer reality when President Bush signed off on a plan to shutter 180 military installations over the next 20 years. Congress must reject or approve the plan without alterations within 45 days. If Congress takes no action, the plan would proceed based on the president's endorsement. Under the plan submitted by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, the Walter Reed name would be preserved, added to the front of National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md. National also would get some of Walter Reed's staff and services. Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, also is slated for closure. Most of its 5,000 personnel are expected to move to nearby Brooke Army Medical Center. -- by Matthew Dobias
Bush sends plan to close military hospitals to Congress
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