Senator Nelson should call Rahm Emanuel's bluff.
Offutt Air Force Base is one of the nation's most critical command and control nodes, second to only to the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. The base's hardened facilities, designed to withstand a nuclear blast, are so optimized to support leadership during a national emergency that Offutt's underground command bunker was President Bush's command center of choice during the 9/11 attacks. It also serves a direct link between President Obama and the nation's nuclear forces, as Offutt houses the nation's Primary Alerting System, satellite and radio transmitter/receivers used in nuclear command and control functions, and our fleet of airborne command centers, which are designed to ensure the continuation of civilian and military leadership after a national disaster or military attack.
This is arguably the most important military installation in the continental United States. Realigning these assets would take at least half a decade, billions of taxpayer dollars, and would constitute the single largest shakeup to our nation's nuclear command and control infrastructure in history.
In what appears to be a very strange decision, the White House seems to feel that all the money, pain, and headaches that would result from BRAC'ing Offut is fair price in exchange for a single vote on health care reform. Nelson should recognize a bogus threat when he sees one, and dare Emanuel to try.