There she goes again, firing defense-budget blanks. Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) wants to save big bucks by "dual-basing" U.S. military personnel {Outlook, June 24}. The problem is that her plan won't save any money.

Troops not stationed overseas in areas in which the United States has interests would have to be moved there in times of crisis. Sometimes this would have to be done quickly with massive lift requirements, as in the case of Panama. But 12,000 U.S. troops were already stationed in Panama. Moving in 12,000 more overtaxed U.S. airlift capability. Such drastic overload in times of crisis would be the norm if Schroeder's skeleton military force was implemented.

Schroeder shrugged off this problem with large, rapid deployments by stating, "true, it would entail some added spending for airlift and sealift." Unfortunately, she has voted against the C-17 transport aircraft, badly needed for airlift capability and crucial to the task of rapid deployment.

Then, there is the problem of finding bases in the United States for the active-duty troops potentially needed for deployment overseas. These bases would have to provide for military dependents too. The problem here again is that Schroeder voted to close such bases to save $500 million annually. Then there is her idea of short-term deployments overseas for training -- it too would eat up much if not all of the savings she expects to get from reductions of troop rotations.

Finally, Schroeder's dual-basing plan would eliminate thousands of military-support positions overseas. And guess who occupies most of those positions? The same women in uniform for whom she pushes military job opportunity.

Schroeder can't have it both ways. -- Bill Taylor -- David Stinnett The writers are with the Center for Strategic & International Studies.