I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Los Angeles Air Force Base location in 2003, and I'm pleased to see that the Defense Department has decided not to close it in the most recent round of Base Realignment And Closure (commonly called BRAC). LAAFB generates a huge number of high-paying aerospace and defense jobs in my area, and it would have been a blow to the economy to lose it; plus, all the major defense contractors are located nearby, so it wouldn't have made sense, even though Los Angeles is an expensive place to operate. Here's the complete list of bases affected.

The thing to realize, unfortunately, is that military bases don't "generate revenue", despite what Jeb Bush might think. Bases only move revenue from one place to another -- generally from the tax bucket paid into by the nation as a whole to a concentrated community. By reducing the number of unneeded bases, we can save more money for the contributing group than we were "generating" for the receivers, due to the waste associated with every government program. Still states are shelling out big bucks to save their bacon (and I'm glad mine wasn't thrown into the fire).

Zap at Also Also has a detailed description of how BRAC decisions are made.

John Fund explains that many base closures lead to increased prosperity.

James Courter, a former New Jersey congressman who chaired a 1993 base-closing commission, told me that he heard every dire prediction imaginable that communities that lost their bases would die. "In fact, those places that planned ahead, aggressively sought out alternatives and improved their economic incentives often came out ahead of where they were," he says. ...

Keith Caudle, a former Air Force colonel who was serving as McClellan's commander when it closed for good in 2001, credits his base's success story to forward-looking decisions to transfer the entire base to the county in one piece for nothing. The results can be so positive, he says, that "some communities ought to be out there begging the military to close their bases."

It makes sense, but I'm sure the transitions are scary.



Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Site Info