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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Local Officials Lead Call to Arms Following BRAC Announcement

  • February 2, 2012
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For defense communities whose local installations have been the target of previous BRAC rounds, the possibility of a new one is particularly troubling.

Six years after Portsmouth Naval Shipyard narrowly averted a recommendation for closure, the supporters of the Kittery, Maine, shipyard are ready for battle again.

“We are just gearing up to fight the good fight all over again,” Neil Rolde, president of the Seacoast Shipyard Association, told the Kennebec Journal.

Despite being rated as one of the most efficient shipyards in the nation, Portsmouth likely would remain a target in a new base closure round, according to Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute.

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the president would request Congress authorize use of the BRAC process, leaving the final say as to whether there is another base closure round to the House and Senate.

In southeastern Arizona, officials believe the best way residents of Sierra Vista and the surrounding region can support Fort Huachuca is by conserving water, the primary issue threatening the post’s future.

“We need to get ready to mobilize and to execute” initiatives to protect the installation, Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller told the Benson News-Sun. Freeing up city funds to improve water conservation will be a high priority.

In Southern California, Ventura County officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of BRAC 2005 when Naval Base Ventura County lost about 400 jobs as the result of a realignment.

“You prepare for the worst and hope it doesn’t come, and that’s what we’re doing right now, Tom Nielsen of the Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century told the Ventura County Star. A task force that defended the base in 2005 will begin meeting with local officials and business groups to solicit their support in making the case that Ventura County’s strategic value is unmatched.

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