OEA continues to assist communities, both large and small, with adapting to Defense program changes. Communities benefit from decades of OEA knowledge and community best practices, allowing them to leverage state and federal resources to proactively and positively change their individual community.
Each project highlight story below showcases a challenge the community is facing and how this community, with OEA support, is working to solve it.
About Base Realignment & Closure Program
Since 1961, OEA has worked with communities impacted by downsizing and base realignment and closure (BRAC). Since 1988, five independent BRAC commissions have recommended closing 451 installations. Today, OEA continues to help communities affected by BRAC address issues such as unemployment, economic development, and land use planning. A recent General Accountability Office (GAO) study found that unemployment rates of 62 BRAC-affected communities over a seven-month period ending July 31, 2004, compared favorably with the national average. The GAO reported that during this time frame, nearly 43 of the communities studied had unemployment rates equal to or lower than the U.S. average, and close to 30 communities had income growth rates higher than the national average.
The 2005 BRAC commission recommended 25 major base closures, 24 realignments, and the closure of hundreds of smaller bases and reserve centers, creating opportunities for private and public civilian reuse. OEA is available to help communities develop and execute base reuse and economic adjustment strategies to minimize the uncertainty that follows military installation closure or realignment.
OEA provides technical and financial assistance to state and local governments directly impacted by a base closure or realignment. The closing of a military base can mark a new beginning for a community, and OEA and its dedicated staff reduce anxiety and help communities make this transition a success.
Additionally, OEA coordinates the Economic Adjustment Committee. The committee meets to help coordinate the resources of 22 key federal agencies for communities adversely affected by BRAC actions. The Committee allows OEA to leverage available federal resources for impacted communities.
Sample of Successfully Transitioned Military Bases
The majority of base closure communities have been able to absorb the economic loss and show positive economic growth at or above national averages. The following table lists a sample of military bases that have made the successful transition.
|Military Base||Date Closed||Civilian Positions Lost||New Civilian Jobs||Change|
|Numbers as of Fall 2004|
|Pease AFB, NH||1991||400||5,124||1,181%|
|George AFB, CA||1992||506||1,631||222%|
|England AFB, LA||1992||682||1,963||188%|
|Bergstrom AFB, TX||1993||927||4,359||370%|
|Chanute AFB, IL||1993||1,035||1,869||81%|
|Grissom AFB, IN||1994||792||1,036||32%|
|Lowry AFB, CO||1994||2,275||5,666||149%|
|K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI||1995||788||1,202||53%|
|Castle AFB, CA||1995||1,149||2,326||102%|
|Glenview NAS, IL||1995||289||4,908||953%|
|Ogden DDD, UT||1997||1,105||2,468||123%|
|Cecil Field NAS, FL||1999||995||1,616||62%|
|Seneca Army Depot, NY||2000||273||1,205||341%|
The closing of a military base can mark the start of something new and more successful. Communities across the country are finding out that, indeed, anything is possible!
Strong leadership, consensus planning, and job creation breed successand help a community redefine itself and regain confidence for its future.
High-Quality, High-Paying Jobs
Successful BRAC projects mean that civilian employees often gain more upward mobility than was previously afforded, as well as higher salaries and new places to turn for retraining and education.
Tax Base Expansion
As a community offers more jobs and opportunities, the growing tax base enables a broadening of community facilities and services — along with an improved quality of life.
Public & Private Reinvestment
When community leaders find creative ways to use closed military bases, everyone wins. New initiatives inspire both the township and its corporations to invest in their future.
A Diversified & Stable Economy
The influx of new business, industry, space, and services to a community can stimulate economic growth. Communities often find that, when a base closes, more is gained than lost!
How OEA Helps BRAC Communities
OEA equips communities with information, procedures, and technical and financial assistance needed to plan and implement economic recovery efforts, including closed-base redevelopment plans and community economic adjustment strategies. From 1988 to 2004, OEA provided communities $280 million in assistance. So far, from 2005 to 2008, OEA already has distributed $108 million to communities nationwide.
Working together with local and state governments, military departments, the private sector, and citizens, OEA provides hands-on, multi-year coordinated assistance based on over 50 years of experience producing positive results.
Local Redevelopment Authorities (LRAs) Information
At the core of any BRAC transition process is the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA). The LRA serves as a coordinating body for the community and is responsible for preparing and implementing the redevelopment plan. Additionally, the LRA works directly with OEA project managers and the military services to help with this process. The LRA is also the single community point of contact for all matters relating to the closure or realignment.
Successful transition requires strong, effective local leadership; it requires that local officials —both elected representatives and non-elected leaders —take charge of the process. The effects of base realignment, closure, or growth are felt most strongly at the local level; thus, the response from the local community is most important.
OEA recognizes that each community LRA should be established and aligned to face the needs of the local community. There is no template for the composition and organization of an LRA, but the chart below shows the conceptual structure and composition of an LRA.
0-6 Months After Closure Approval Date
- Communities begin process of organizing for community adjustment
- DoD and Federal Property interests are identified
- Surplus property determinations
The key to successful economic and community transition after closure is to be proactive. Communities that can redirect their energy away from fighting closure and harness that energy for transitioning to civilian redevelopment of the base will be more successful in the long run.
During the first 6 months following the date of approval, property not needed by the Department of Defense or other Federal agencies is identified, and a notice of surplus property available for redevelopment is published. Also in this time period, an LRA is structured and recognized by DoD through OEA and begins comprehensive redevelopment planning for the base.
The Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA)
The LRA is expected to provide leadership and build consensus for base realignment. The Secretary of Defense, through the OEA, will recognize only one LRA for a contiguous installation that is closed or realigned. If there are multiple affected installations in a jurisdiction, the same LRA could address all BRAC actions. Successful LRAs are:
- Representative of the affected area and its demographics incorporate private as well as public sector representatives and be public.
- Manageable in terms of committee structure and the number of members on the executive board and council.
- Effective in taking advantage of existing resources and providing political and financial resources to support the community.
6-12 Months After Closure Approval Date
- LRA solicits and considers notices of interest, conducts outreach, considers homeless assistance needs, and undertakes consultation regarding surplus property uses.
Following the initial organization process, and after a notice of surplus property has been provided, the LRA undertakes significant outreach efforts and begins the initial redevelopment planning process.
By law, the redevelopment planning process must include the identification of homeless needs and must reflect a balance with local community and economic development needs. LRAs must establish links to local homeless-assistance providers.
Other stakeholders in the community will likely be interested in participating in the redevelopment planning processes and may express interest in acquiring property through public benefit conveyance and other methods. School districts, colleges and universities, airport authorities, wildlife and conservation groups, alternative transportation organizers, historic preservation societies, business groups and entrepreneurs, and various other stakeholders may wish to participate in the planning process.
Key Points to Remember
- Outreach and solicitation of interest must begin within one month of the surplus notice and follow either a three- or six-months schedule, depending on local needs.
- The public should be informed and given an opportunity to participate at all stages of the process.
- Communities should utilize established networks of businesses and non-profits to connect with a variety of stakeholders.
- By law, the redevelopment plan should address the needs and concerns of homeless and reflect a balance with local community needs.
12-24 Months After Closure Approval Date
- LRA prepares Redevelopment Plan and Homeless Submission and submits to DoD and HUD
- Sponsoring Federal Agencies are notified of property possibly available under public benefit conveyance
Following the organizational phase (the first 6 months after the date of approval) and the initial outreach phase (the next 3 to 6 months), the heart of the LRA's planning process takes place in the second year after the date of approval. Having considered the NOIs received, the LRA prepares a redevelopment plan, taking into account a broad range of installation and community factors.
The redevelopment plan indentifies the LRA’s overall redevelopment strategy for the base. Under the BRAC law, the LRA and the community must ensure that the plan adequately balances local community and economic development needs with those of the homeless. This must be an open, public, and transparent process.
The first step is to determine the community goals that will guide the planning process. These goals will serve as the foundation of the overall adjustment strategy. For base closures, the primary community goal is often job creation. Other goals may include expanding the tax base, diversifying the local economy, maintaining a level of environmental quality, and meeting affordable housing needs.
In setting the community’s goals, a multitude of objectives may be identified, such as a civilian job replacement, public use of portions of the site, and effective efficient use of land and facilities.
The LRA should take into consideration the initial identified needs, goals, and objectives of the community. Often, this consensus is the basis for preliminary LRA consultation with interesting property users.
24 -30+ Months After Closure Approval Date
- Compliance under NEPA completed for property disposal
- Property can be disposed, Redevelopment Plan implemented
After consensus on redevelopment uses and configuration or community growth management activities is achieved, specific guidance is needed to implement the plan. What will be the structure of any follow-on entity tasked with putting the installation into civilian use or following through on growth management plans? Are subsidies required for the effort? If so, what will be the services? What are the schedules for site improvements or construction of community facilities? How will funding be secured to finance economic development? What roles will the private and public sectors play in redevelopment of the installation or implementation of the growth management? This is the “action” component of the plan and becomes the basis for implementing the plan.
When completed, the base redevelopment plan should identify the redevelopment configuration with the greatest comparative advantage for the community and address the feasibility of an entirely, or mostly, private sector implementation approach, one that maximizes public benefits while minimizing public costs.
|First Year||Second Year||Third Year||Fourth Year|
|Sample Base Realignment & Closure Process Timeline|
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