Military Base Closings.......

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
http://www.azcentral.com/news/columns/articles/0201talton01.html

For those that care, what's everyone's take? IMO, if we need to close a base because it is truly no longer needed, then there's no need wasting money on excess infrastructure. I don't believe that bases should be kept simply because the local economy would be "devastated" if the base closed. Local governments should realize that they should plan their finances as if there was no local base; the base simply being "icing on the cake" to the local economy. Too many bases remain open that probably would've been better off being closed, simply due to this reason. A prime example was the closure of Reese AFB in Lubbock, TX in 1994. Reese was a pilot training base that had excellent MOA airspace for 360 degrees, and good weather. A pilot training base had to be closed by the Air Force, and, IMO, Laughlin AFB located in the border town of Del Rio, TX would've been far better; since they effectively had only 180 degrees of airspace from the northwest to the southeast due to the Mexico border. But the little town of Del Rio would've "washed away" without Laughlin, with the ciy of Lubbock being relatively unscathed by the closure of Reese; and so it ended up getting the axe.

The reduced size of the military, with more reductions to come, and the concept of "jointness" among the services will demand a reduction in excess and redundant infrastructure. Agree or disagree with these facts, it is what is happening with the military these days.
 

aloft

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
IMO, if we need to close a base because it is truly no longer needed, then there's no need wasting money on excess infrastructure. I don't believe that bases should be kept simply because the local economy would be "devastated" if the base closed. Local governments should realize that they should plan their finances as if there was no local base; the base simply being "icing on the cake" to the local economy.

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Keep in mind that some of these towns sprung into being BECAUSE of the base being established (Del Rio/Laughlin, for instance; I'm sure there are others), continue to exist pretty much solely to support the base and its personnel, and the economic damage to the non-military people who live there is certainly a factor worth considering when choosing bases for closure; operational advantages/disadvantages shouldn't necessarily trump all in such decisions. In the Reese/Laughlin example, Laughlin's MOAs don't have the same impact as Reese's did on other users of the airspace system--not much private or commercial traffic transits Laughlin's MOAs. Moreover, operations really aren't that drastically affected; most bases do not enjoy access to MOAs in all directions--Nellis, Luke and Hill are perfect examples.

In other words, if it's a mess the government created, it's a mess the government must clean up. The less costly mess is usually the better choice.
 

Grumpy01

New Member
Also keep in mind the saying around many military bases. "Military and dogs keep off the grass"

There are many places that do nothing but take all they can because you are military. One of the problems you run into as a military person is that everyone knows exactly how much money you make and they use that to adjust the cost of housing and other QOL items.

If a base needs to be closed for [good reason] then close it. Just don't close or keep open a base for political reasons. That however is the main reason for closure of bases.
 

Flugmaschine

New Member
E-1 AND UP EASY FINANCING!!! NO MONEY DOWN!!

There must be a dozen of those places on the highway into base.

I agree. There shouldn't be much consideration to the community when they close bases. They didn't consider that when the opened them, after all.
When they closed Fort Ord out in Cali, Monterey thought it would sink into the sea, but they did just fine.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Holloman AFB, New Mexico has that problem with rent/Basic Allowance for Housing (COLA) pretty bad. Since Holloman is @65% German Air Force, with the German Air Force training wing located there, the locals know exactly how much BAH the Germans get, which is substantially more than the BAH the USAF troops get. Hence, standard rent for a fair apartment is higher than the US BAH.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
I think there was a base closing commission a number of years ago that recommended some bases for closure. They submittted the list to Congress, and they had to vote straight up or down on it, no modifications to the list.

That's about the only way I can see something happening again. If you say we want to close base X, you can be sure that Congressman Y and Senators A & B will find a way to keep it open. But if you take the politics out of it, by forcing them to vote straight up or down on a list, then it can get done.

BTW, I've been to Del Rio, TX. God, there is absolutely nothing there. Seriously. The downtown consists of a strip mall and a few hotels. There were only two hotels there, a Best Western and a La Quinta. I think they were building another one but I don't remember.

Mike, I heard that if you go too far south in the pattern around Laughlin, they give you a sombrero when you land. That cracked me up.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I think there was a base closing commission a number of years ago that recommended some bases for closure. They submittted the list to Congress, and they had to vote straight up or down on it, no modifications to the list.

That's about the only way I can see something happening again. If you say we want to close base X, you can be sure that Congressman Y and Senators A & B will find a way to keep it open. But if you take the politics out of it, by forcing them to vote straight up or down on a list, then it can get done.

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That's how Base Realignment and Closure Commission is supposed to work, all or none on a vote. However the last BRAC round got tainted when, reportedly, Clinton decided to "privatize in place" certain bases that were to be closed in order to save jobs (it did happen, the "reportedly" part from me concerns Clinton's degree of involvment, since I'm stating conjecture). The two bases were large USAF Air Logistics Centers that employed many civilian GS employees; Kelly AFB in San Antonio, TX, and McClellan AFB, Sacremento, CA.

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BTW, I've been to Del Rio, TX. God, there is absolutely nothing there. Seriously. The downtown consists of a strip mall and a few hotels. There were only two hotels there, a Best Western and a La Quinta. I think they were building another one but I don't remember.

Mike, I heard that if you go too far south in the pattern around Laughlin, they give you a sombrero when you land. That cracked me up.

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You aren't kidding. Departing off of 13 into the western patters, if you delay upwind by more than 1.5 miles then.......buenos dias!

When I used to fly cargo, I flew into Douglas, AZ (KDGL). The runway is literally 500 feet from the border at one approach end; so to fly a normal pattern to that runway, you had to enter Mexico!
 

may141994

New Member
But do they really close all of them? White Oak located in Montgomery County Maryland was a research facility for the Navy. They (closed) it and ye ol GSA came in and FDA now works on site.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
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But do they really close all of them? White Oak located in Montgomery County Maryland was a research facility for the Navy. They (closed) it and ye ol GSA came in and FDA now works on site.

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Closed in the sense of no more DoD presence. Available now for other federal, state, or private use.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Hey, there's a nice nine hole golf course on there. Except you gotta deal with all the geese and their, um, hazards.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Re: Military Base Closings and the ANG/Reserves.......

Part of the Pentagon's desire for the 2005 Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) commission is to reduce redundancy and excess in all the military branches. The Air National Guard (ANG) won't be exempt from this either. With the proposed downsizing of the Guard forces, there will be less opportunities within the reserve/guard itself.

Time will tell.


http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews.cgi?database=DefenseWatch.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=364&rnd=430.7863171575277
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I think there was a base closing commission a number of years ago that recommended some bases for closure. They submittted the list to Congress, and they had to vote straight up or down on it, no modifications to the list.

That's about the only way I can see something happening again. If you say we want to close base X, you can be sure that Congressman Y and Senators A & B will find a way to keep it open. But if you take the politics out of it, by forcing them to vote straight up or down on a list, then it can get done.

[/ QUOTE ]

That's how Base Realignment and Closure Commission is supposed to work, all or none on a vote. However the last BRAC round got tainted when, reportedly, Clinton decided to "privatize in place" certain bases that were to be closed in order to save jobs (it did happen, the "reportedly" part from me concerns Clinton's degree of involvment, since I'm stating conjecture). The two bases were large USAF Air Logistics Centers that employed many civilian GS employees; Kelly AFB in San Antonio, TX, and McClellan AFB, Sacremento, CA.


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And the end result was a painful 3 year process that was extended into an even more painful 6 year closure, still a large amount of job loss, and continued wasteful spending in the government. And Clinton really screwed things up, not only for himself, but for anyone who wants to close bases again in the future.

They can easily close several more bases and consolidate without impacting the mission if they really wanted to. On the flip side, the privatization thing sounds good in soundbites, but you have to ask how a company can 1) do it cheaper than the government and 2) turn a profit. And while I don't want to further get this into a nasty realm of politics, a lot of the issues you are seeing raised with regards to Halliburton will likewise be raised with further privatization efforts.

In the end, what happened with the Air Logisitics Centers was something called "Public/Private Partnerships," where private companies get a bunch of the work and yet a number of the jobs stayed on at the remaining Air Logistics Centers for the career civil servants.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Copa,

Which bases could stand to be closed in your opinion? I have a feeling about the operations side of the equation, but haven't much knowlege of the logistics/support bases and their redundancy/needs, etc. Specifically, I speak of bases like Hanscom, Warner-Robins, Arnold, etc et al; bases that I know of their existance, but not of what they really do. IMO, bases like Bolling, Gunter, etc could served to be gotten rid of with not much loss. There's numerous ops bases that I'd toss in the mix too.

I didn't know that Northeast Air Defense Sector stil exists at Griffis.
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Copa,

Which bases could stand to be closed in your opinion? I have a feeling about the operations side of the equation, but haven't much knowlege of the logistics/support bases and their redundancy/needs, etc. Specifically, I speak of bases like Hanscom, Warner-Robins, Arnold, etc et al; bases that I know of their existance, but not of what they really do. IMO, bases like Bolling, Gunter, etc could served to be gotten rid of with not much loss. There's numerous ops bases that I'd toss in the mix too.



I didn't know that Northeast Air Defense Sector stil exists at Griffis.

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As much as it is politically ignored, the only reason for keeping Hanscom open is for its supporting MITRE contract. In fact, I had to go out and work with ESC one time, and I showed up at Hanscom. However, some ESC offices are ACTUALLY at MITRE, so I found myself having to drive 10 miles (2 hours) away to the MITRE complex. I believe you could close Hanscom and move it to Eglin or Wright-Patterson pretty easily. Same goes for Bolling, Brooks, and the rest of the smaller support bases. Places like Hanscom, Bolling, Brooks, and Los Angeles AFB (yes, there is such a place) are expensive, they are surrounded by the city so they can't expand, they are in politically advantageous locations, they lack FLYING facilities, and because they lack flying facilities, there is little justification for why their mission can't be accomplished elsewhere.

One thing that will be interesting is seeing if the first round of ALC closures has an impact on efficiency. There was something like a 50-75% efficiency rate on engine repair at the ALCs; for every 2-4 engines sent back out to the field, one was immediately returned back the ALC for re-work. It will be interesting to see if that efficiency has improved since that work was privatized. If so, I think we might see more ALCs on the chopping block.

There are some issues with closing the ALCs, though, and that is when they came up with the idea of moving San Antonio ALC's workload to Warner-Robins, they never considered that Warner-Robins didn't have the space to handle all of it. Before I left Kelly, I heard rumors that there might need to be some big construction projects to construct new facilities to handle the additional workload from Kelly; if that is the case, then a big part of the savings realized in closing Kelly will be used to construct new facilties elsewhere (although you could say that a new state of the art facility has more value than a fully depreciated and aging facility at Kelly).

Yeah, NEADS is still up at the Griff, as is the Air Force Research Laboratory's Rome Operating Location. NEADS has been turned over to the National Guard. I expect that there will be a push to consolidate all of the AFRL at Wright-Patterson in the next base closure round.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
There's still a research lab at Williams Gateway (Williams AFB), Armstrong Lab I believe, that does flight simulator work. Is that another that could serve to be sent to Wright Pat?
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, the consolidated all the labs under the Air Force Research Lab, so that the main lab is at Wright-Pat and the rest are operating locations. I used to think that they needed some specific equipment at certain places, such as the cryo engine facility at Kelly, the wind tunnels at Arnold, the cryo-lens facility at Rome, and some of the labs at Kirtland. However, a bunch of those you can probably contract out to a small contractor wirh about a dozen people to operate and move the rest of the lab elsewhere.

It's not the politically correct answer, but there probably isn't a need for a large military presence at most of those locations; you can probably also get local PhD students to do most of the research for cheap.
 

kostcoguy

New Member
I got a question for ya Mike, I don't know how long you've been in the services, but did you ever get to fly into El Toro Marine Base down here in Southern California? I've played golf at the Navy Course multiple times (the base is retired) and one of the holes runs directly up against a runway, and man all they need is men to run this place and I swear it would be up and running within 2 months, base is just ready to go.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Been to El Toro, though I have never flown into there. Interesting field on some pricey land, and encroachment hell. Would've been nice for it to remain open....then the Navy would've still been at Miramar. Been out to Tustin too with the huge blimp hangars. Neat to see.
 

kostcoguy

New Member
Yeah, my grandfather got discharged from the Air Force at the Tustin base. I love that El Toro base, it's an incredible piece of property in it's current state, I think they should make it into something other than a park.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
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, I think they should make it into something other than a park.

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Is that it's final disposition?
 
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