Many Communities Express Confidence at Prospect of New BRAC Round
While no host to a military facility relishes the prospect of a new round of base closures, a number of defense communities believe they are in good shape as the Pentagon plans to request Congress authorize another BRAC.
“China Lake is well prepared to defend itself and well prepared to advocate for the work we do,” China Lake Alliance Executive Director Mick Gleason told the Ridgecrest Daily Independent. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, in California’s western Mojave Desert, has many advantages, according to local officials, including its open airspace, its large intellectual capital and vast test and evaluation capabilities.
“The prior investments the DOD has made in our local infrastructure and the R&D mission as a whole bode well for our opportunity to continue the work we do. I’m looking forward to advocating any possible gains that could arise from these decisions,” Gleason said.
In Northwest Florida, Don Salter, commissioner for Santa Rosa County, points to local governments’ efforts to prevent encroachment as a positive indicator for the region’s installations.
“I think our bases would be in pretty good shape, acknowledging that they have done those land use studies, and they have plans in place to protect those resources,” including land, air and water, he told the Pensacola News Journal.
Still, Salter noted that the region’s bases face multiple threats. “Anytime that your base does something that other bases do, you’re going to be in a competitive arena,” he said. Eglin AFB, Naval Air Station Whiting Field and NAS Pensacola all will face scrutiny, Salter predicted.
Mike Cooper, chairman of the Vance Development Authority, expressed confidence about efforts to protect Vance AFB, Okla., in the face of a possible BRAC round.
“We don’t have a crystal ball, but we feel as good as you can,” he told Enid News. Cooper also said he didn’t see any reason to change efforts already under way to support the state’s installations.
“We will just continue to do what we do, continue to protect and enhance our No. 1 military value, which is airspace, and our infrastructure. That isn’t going to change,” he said.