There are 164,000 defense-related jobs in the state of Pennsylvania.
There is also a nation swimming in debt and legislation passed by Congress that requires $500 billion in defense cuts over 10 years beginning Jan. 2.
So Gov. Corbett signed an order last week calling for a commission to advocate for the state's bases.
We will admit to conflicting views on this issue.
On the one hand, the size of the federal government and its budget has to be reduced if the country is to melt down the $16 trillion-plus deficit that threatens the quality of life of all Americans, especially those who are young now.
But on the other hand, the country's defense duties don't appear to be dwindling. And, moreover, we don't believe Pennsylvania should be the whipping boy of the defense reductions. It's losses in jobs and military facilities shouldn't be proportionately greater than other portions of the country.
The state has major installations at the Carlisle Barracks, where the U.S. Army War College is housed and three equipment and supply installations at Letterkenny Army Depot in southcentral Pennsylvania, a Naval support depot in suburban Harrisburg and Tobyhanna Army Depot in northeastern Pennsylvania.
The worth of these bases should be measured against others before they are eliminated.
The Tobyhanna Depot, for instance, performs electrical work that no other depot does.
So Corbett was correct to establish the commission to advocate for the state's facilities.
But let's not kid ourselves. Bringing the federal government and the debt down to size requires shared pain.