Defense official misrepresented lab panel's views, lawmakers say Lawmakers are seeking new testimony about military laboratories


WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers concerned about military laboratories in their districts that are targeted for realignment complained that a defense official last week misrepresented the views of a commission evaluating the facilities.

Rep. Tom McMillen, D-4th, this week convened a meeting of House members who decided to write a letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Donald J. Atwood objecting to the testimony of Charles "Pete" Adolph before the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

The lawmakers contend that Adolph misrepresented the views of a lab commission he heads.

Adolph, in turn, pledged to write a letter to the chairman of the commission clarifying his testimony.

He said he spoke only for himself and the Department of Defense, and not other lab commission members, when he made no objection Friday to the idea of having military labs -- including six facilities across

Maryland -- put on the commission's "hit list."

Specifically, the lawmakers contend that Adolph led the panel to believe that it had no problem with the idea of having military labs lumped together with regular military installations being reviewed for closure, even though Congress intended to keep the two separate.

McMillen said Adolph's testimony not only superseded congressional intent, but also misrepresented the views of the panel he chairs.

McMillen said he hopes the base commission will ask a lab commission member not affiliated with the Pentagon to re-testify so the labs will be taken off the closure list.

"Adolph said that his letter would arrive [Thursday] but I'm not guaranteeing what is going to shape up," McMillen said.

Of Maryland's six military labs, only one is being eyed for possible closure, the Naval Electronics Systems Engineering Activity in St. Mary's County.

The other five -- the Navy's David Taylor Research Center in Annapolis, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak, the Naval Ordnance Station in Indian Head and the Army's Fort Detrick in Frederick and Harry Diamond Laboratories in Adelphi -- are scheduled for possible realignment.

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