New Community Support Funding Proposed for OEA
The Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) would assist communities affected by the loss of weapons manufacturing jobs as well as those preparing to accommodate an influx of troops returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, under the fiscal 2013 budget request the Pentagon released Monday.
The request includes $12.0 million to support reductions in force structure and weapons procurement throughout the nation, funding needed so that OEA can help affected communities plan and coordinate a local, state and federal response, according the FY 2013 Budget Estimate for the agency.
“OEA is the DOD first responder for the multiple communities, businesses and workers adversely affected by the DOD decisions to cancel/curtail defense acquisition programs or disestablish defense contract activities,” the document stated.
The agency would receive $3.8 million to support communities with returning personnel from overseas conflicts. The funding would be used to assist communities with their socioeconomic efforts to handle the added personnel, including off-base community services.
“As requirements arise from DOD’s efficiency initiatives and budget reductions, OEA’s first responder activities increase,” the budget document stated. The agency “must capably” support communities coping with changes stemming from the global defense posture review and other transformation initiatives with a multi-year program of support, it added.
The request also includes $51 million for the agency to continue upgrading public schools on installations suffering from poor conditions or overcrowding. OEA would use the money to award grants to local schools districts to construct, renovate, repair or expand elementary and secondary schools. Congress allocated $250 million for the effort in FY 2012.
In addition, the request includes $139.4 million for OEA to continue helping Guam prepare for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa. In 2012, lawmakers allocated $33 million to the agency to fund “socioeconomic infrastructure improvements.” The new request would cover:
- water and wastewater infrastructure improvements ($106.4 million);
- completion of a mental health and substance abuse facility ($20.1 million); and
- construction of a regional public health laboratory ($12.9 million).
One proposed change in the budget request would require growth communities to shoulder a larger share of OEA grants. DOD proposed raising the local cost share for such grants from 10 percent to 25 percent.
The total FY 2013 request for OEA is $253.4 million. The agency received $341.6 million for the current year. The agency’s budget estimate is available on DOD’s website.