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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.