The Secretary of the Air Force has assured Robins Air Force Base officials that the Air Force Reserve Command based there isn't leaving anytime soon.

At a hearing Tuesday, Deborah James, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee that "I absolutely do not agree with the disestablishment of the Reserve Command."

That's according to a news release from the 21st Century Partnership, the group that lobbies for Robins.

In January, a federal commission recommended eliminating the Air Force Reserve Command based at Robins.

Base officials say the command employs about 1,100 people at Robins. That recommendation came from the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force.

Congress created that group to study the future of the Air Force and how it should be organized. Their report is only a recommendation that Congress could accept or reject or change.

But Chrissy Miner, spokeswoman for the 21st Century Partnership, said James' comments were a sign that the recommendation likely won't go anywhere.

"The ultimate authority, the ultimate spokesperson for the Air Force is the secretary," she said " That is the Air Force's official position now. For us, that kind of takes this issue off our radar screen."

Miner says James' comments repeated what members of the partnership heard in February, during private meetings with other Air Force officials.

In the same hearing, Chambliss also noted that next year's Air Force budget is likely to contain funding for construction of the Air Force Reserve Command's new headquarters at Robins -- another sign that the command should be here to stay.

"That's great news, and once it's approved, we can all high-five," she said.

The partnership estimates that the Air Force Reserve Command adds $250 million to Central Georgia's economy.

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