US Defence Secretary Les Aspin yesterday called for the closure of 31

military bases in the US and another 29 overseas, including two in

Britain.

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They are a Navy base at Kinnaber, Montrose, and the Murkle Receiver

Site at Thurso, Caithness.

It is understood that about 15 civilians are employed at each of the

Scottish bases and a handful of US Navy personnel.

Last August, the US announced it would return to the Ministry of

Defence this September three US Navy bases, at Glen Douglas and

Machrihanish in Scotland, and at St Mawgan, Cornwall.

It will also mothball High Wycombe Air Station, Buckinghamshire, and

pull out part of its staff at Welford, Berkshire, affecting 188 jobs,

including 91 civil servants.

Mr Aspin also wants to scale down or shut more than 100 smaller US

facilities in a move that will cost tens of thousands of jobs.

The Pentagon said foreign bases facing closure also included 14 in

Germany, eight facilities at the Iraklion base on Crete, four sites in

the Netherlands, and one on Okinawa, Japan.

The list brings to 704 the number of overseas installations where

operations have been ended or cut since January, 1990, a 42% reduction

resulting from the end of the Cold War.

Foreign bases can be closed without Congressional approval but the

politically explosive closure of domestic bases requires approval by an

independent commission, President Clinton, and Congress.