A 15-member study committee formed by the Georgia House to help the state’s defense communities prepare for a future BRAC round met Wednesday in Warner Robins for the first of six hearings planned across the state.
After community representatives for Robins Air Force Base and Moody AFB testified about the missions and economic impacts of the two bases, former Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) praised the Georgia lawmakers for taking action to safeguard the state’s military installations. He said he did not recall state legislators getting involved in the two rounds of base closure he experienced while in Congress, reported the Telegraph.
“You being here today sends a great message,” he said. “You are interested and you do care about the entire state and the section of the state that you represent.”
Chambliss told the committee its task to get ready for the next BRAC round is urgent. “It’s coming,” he said. “And it’s coming sooner rather than later. … There’s an awful lot of excess capacity out there, and there’s going to have to be a downsizing.”
Ron Smith, former commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, described the primary qualities of communities that have been successful in preserving their bases.
“I think there’s a couple of attributes of those communities and states that do this extremely well,” Smith said. “One is, they are really, really passionate about their bases. They are very, very vocal and energetic about their bases. They are very inquisitive about what’s going on at their bases, how to improve their bases and how to get missions.”
The committee is expected to issue recommendations before the end of the year.