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Over the past four decades, the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) has been at the forefront assisting communities respond to Defense program changes in local communities. OEA has a proud tradition of assisting communities affected to develop and implement plans that address a variety of defense program changes and to marshal other federal assistance resources. The timeline below highlights some of the key points in OEA history, organized by the decade they occurred.

Interactive Timeline


Robert McNamara

1961 - 1969

In an effort to effectively re-orient military forces and installations after major military interventions in Europe and Asia, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara established the Office of Economic Adjustment to help communities impacted by recommended changes. At the time of creation, OEA reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Office of Economic Adjustment


OEA is founded by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara


OEA Regional Offices

1970 - 1979

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Office of Economic Adjustment opened five regional offices, first in Pasadena, then in Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, and Atlanta. These regional offices allowed OEA staff to better connect with local communities and help facilitate the delivery of federal grants at the regional level. During the early 1980s, OEA began to work with growth communities. With the advent of federal agency block grants rather than categorical grants, federal assistance waned at the regional level. Thus, the need for an OEA regional presence diminished, and all of the offices were closed except the West Coast.

President Richard Nixon


Bill Sheehan is named OEA director.

President Richard Nixon establishes by Executive Memorandum the Inter-Agency Economic Adjustment Committee, a predecessor to the current President's Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC).

Naval Base Kitsap Logo


OEA works with Naval Base Kitsap in Washington to handle the growth brought on by the stationing of the first squadron of Trident Submarines. This is the first time that OEA becomes involved with growth communities.

OEA’s need to assist additional communities affected by base closures increases, and the staff is doubled in size to respond.

President Jimmy Carter


On August 1, 1977, President Jimmy Carter approved Public Law 95-82. It required DoD to notify Congress when a base was a candidate for reduction or closure; to prepare comparative installation studies on the strategic, environmental, and local economic consequences of such action; and to wait sixty days for a congressional response. Codified as Section 2687, Title 10, United States Code, the legislation along with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitted Congress to unilaterally thwart any DoD proposals to initiate base realignment and closure studies by refusing to approve them.

Department of Defense Logo


Executive Order 12049 created the Defense Economic Adjustment Programs and reaffirmed the goals and mission of the President's Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC).

OEA is designated as a Defense Field Activity, allowing more autonomous staffing, operations, and budgeting processes.


Oath Signing

1980 - 1989

During the decade of the 1980s, no major military bases were closed, largely because of procedural requirements established by Congress. After several legislative efforts to break the deadlock failed, Congress introduced a new base closure procedure in P.L. 100-526, enacted October 24, 1988. The new base-closing law was designed to minimize political interference. The statute established a bipartisan commission to review the Secretary's recommendations and forward its recommendations to the President on base closures and realignments. Congress had to accept or reject the President´s report in its entirety. On December 28, 1988, the Secretary issued his report, recommending closure of 86 installations, partial closure of 5, and realignment of 54 others.



Bob Rauner is named director of the Office of Economic Adjustment

US Navy


OEA works with the Navy on the East and West Coast Trident Missile base establishments and on Strategic Homeporting of the 600-ship Navy on the East and Gulf coasts. The Homeporting initiative is intended to assist in force dispersal to complicate Soviet targeting, assure battlegroup integrity, utilize a wider industrial base, improve logistics suitability, and reshape geographic considerations such as reduced transit times to likely operating areas. The Army Light Infantry Division initiative is also established. OEA provides planning and federal agency assistance to communities around Fort Drum, NY, Fort Stewart, GA, and Fort Wainwright, AK, which had to embrace increased military personnel levels.



OEA’s compatible use program, Joint Land Use Studies, is created. Community Planning Assistance grant authority is also provided by Congress through 10 USC 2391.



Congressional compromise is reached, and the first BRAC report is issued to the Secretary of Defense on December 28, 1988. Military installations and bases impacted by this round of BRAC included Pease AFB, Chanute AFB, Fort Sheridan, Fort Wingate, George AFB, Hamilton Army Airfield, Jefferson Proving Grounds, Lexington Army Depot, Mather AFB, and Norton AFB.


Office of Economic Adjustment

1990 - 1999

With the new BRAC process established and the end of the Cold War, OEA worked with a variety of communities in the 1990s. During the implementation of four BRAC rounds (1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995), OEA worked with local communities to handle cuts in weapon systems and defense industry spending. The successes of the OEA methodology provided a resource base for assisting emerging Eastern European countries and former Soviet States and their communities cope with the need to trim their military forces and infrastructure by applying the successful U.S. experience as a model.



Paul Dempsey is named director of the Office of Economic Adjustment.

Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 passes to "provide a fair process that will result in the timely closure and realignment of military installations inside the United States."


On July 1, 1991, the BRAC commission delivered its base closure and realignment recommendations to the President. Military installations and bases impacted by this round of BRAC included Carswell AFB, Castle AFB, Chase Field NAS, Eaker AFB, England AFB, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Fort Devens, Fort Ord, Grissom AFB, Treasure Island NS Hunters Pt Annex, Lowry AFB, Loring AFB, Moffett NAS, Myrtle Beach AFB, NAV Elec System Engineering Center, Naval Station Long Beach, Naval Station Philadelphia, Presidio of Monterey, and others.

Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision prohibiting the abolishment of the President's Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC).

George H.W. Bush


President George H.W. Bush reaffirms the Defense Economic Adjustment Program and the EAC by issuing Executive Order 12788, which supersedes EO 12049.



To accommodate a large number of base closures in the State of California, the OEA opens a Western Regional Office in Sacramento, California (replacing the former location in Seattle), where it remains today.

On July 1, 1993, the BRAC commission delivered its base closure and realignment recommendations to the President. Military installations and bases affected by this round of BRAC included Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Homestead AFB, K.I. Sawyer AFB, March AFB, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Naval Air Station/Naval Depot Alameda, Naval Air Station Agana, Naval Air Station Dallas, Naval Air Station Glenview, Naval Aviation Depot Norfolk, Naval Hospital Orlando, Naval Station Charleston, Naval Training Center Orlando, Newark AFB, Plattsburgh AFB, San Diego NTC, and others.


On July 1, 1995, the BRAC commission delivered its base closure and realignment recommendations to the President. Military installations and bases affected by this round of BRAC included Fort Chafee, Fort Greely, Fort Indiantown Gap, Fort McClellan, Fort Pickett, Fort Ritchie, McClellan AFB, Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division Indianapolis, Naval Shipyard Long Beach, Oakland Army Base, Roslyn Air Guard Station, Savanna Army Depot Activity, and others.


Office of Economic Adjustment

2000 - 2009

With Defense Secretary Rumsfeld investigating how to transform the armed forces of the United States for the 21st century, OEA has been at the forefront assisting communities affected by the most complex and challenging base realignments and closures to date. Under the leadership of Patrick O’Brien, OEA presently has about 42 staff members with multi-disciplinary skills that facilitate military growth in 27 regions, effect completion of 65 ongoing Joint Land Use Studies, and work with 111 local redevelopment authorities dealing with the closure of large and many small installations. In solving these complex base closures and realignments, OEA continues to partner with communities to leverage all available state and federal resources to attract jobs and ensure their community survives for years to come.

Patrick J. O'Brien


Patrick J. O’Brien is named director of the Office of Economic Adjustment.

President George W. Bush


President George W. Bush amends Executive Order 12788 reaffirming the role OEA has with Defense program changes and the EAC.

The 2005 BRAC President's report is effected, impacting the following installations and bases for closure Fort McPherson, Fort Gillem, Naval Air Station Brunswick in Maine, Fort Monmouth, Fort Monroe, Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base, Naval Station Ingleside, Naval Station Pascagoula, Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, and Lonestar Army Ammunition Plant, and Navy Supply Corps School.

Additionally, these military installations and bases were slated for realignment: Army Human Resource Command (HRC) in Missouri moving to the Fort Knox Military Installation in Kentucky, Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.

OEA is assisting communities respond to significant personnel increases at Ft. Lewis, Ft. Bragg, Ft. Benning, Ft. Sill, Ft. Bliss, Ft. Riley, Cannon AFB, Ft. Lee, Ft. Carson. Finally, the added effect of Grow the Forces at Guam and Marine bases in Eastern North Carolina has prompted OEA to assist these communities.

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