El Paso Leaders Contemplate Coming BRAC Round
Despite the overwhelming amount of growth that has come to Fort Bliss as a result of BRAC 2005, El Paso officials are getting ready to defend the installation in the event a new round of base closures is announced.
“At this point, we want to create a sense of urgency,” Mayor John Cook told El Paso Inc. “As far as economic development is concerned, this is an extremely high priority,” he said.
The goal for the region is to avoid what happened in the 1995 round, when leaders took a hands-off approach and ended up watching Bliss lose the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment to Fort Carson, Colo.
Officials were encouraged by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s visit last week. Panetta did not directly mention BRAC when he addressed the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, but he did refer to Bliss as the “premier post in America.”
Texas Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D), who serves on the House Armed Services subcommittee responsible for overseeing BRAC, told the paper that negotiations about BRAC could begin as early as next year. “There is going to be a pretty earnest discussion on this,” said Reyes, whose district includes Bliss.