An editorial in the Belleville News-Democrat laments the stark possibility that Scott Air Force Base, Ill., could be shuttered in a future BRAC round.
That potential outcome is particularly sobering given the level of dedication the base’s southwestern Illinois neighbors have shown it.
“It is nice to the airmen. It makes sure the schools are top-notch to educate the military children and fixed the state system that ensured their class credits followed them. It has a healthy housing stock and worked to resolve property tax issues when base housing was developed by a private company,” the paper’s editorial board writes.
Community and Air Force leaders also have partnered to share base support costs and prevent development from encroaching on the installation.
The editorial cites this year’s decision by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to build a new $1.6 billion western headquarters in North St. Louis over a site adjacent to Scott as evidence that in many cases politics trumps mission.
“Maybe NGA did us a favor. Maybe something else can go on that free land we were offering,” it states, trying to mine the silver lining.
“Base closing rounds have twice meant good things for Scott when commands were consolidated here, but this round could just as easily mean some other base gets the consolidated missions,” the editorial concludes.