[Skip to Content]

About OEA: Nearly a Half Century of Assistance

OEA has always looked to assist communities impacted by Department of Defense (DoD) program changes. Founded in 1961, OEA has helped communities in all 50 states and major United States territories develop comprehensive strategies to adjust to defense industry cutbacks, base closures, force structure realignments, base expansion, and incompatibilities between military operations and local development.

OEA is the DoD’s field organization responsible for supporting state and local governments to respond to major defense program changes. With offices in Washington, DC, and Sacramento, California, our staff members are available to assist local communities throughout the United States leverage the full capabilities of the federal government through the Defense Economic Adjustment Program and Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC).

OEA assists the military services to:

  • Develop enduring relationships with states and communities
  • Create compatible land use procedures in partnership with local communities, allowing military services to conduct realistic testing and training
  • Engage local community leaders to ensure services are available to military personnel and their families

OEA assists states and communities to:

  • Use technical and financial assistance to plan and develop local adjustment strategies
  • Engage the private sector in order to plan and undertake community economic development and base redevelopment
  • Work with military departments in support of DoD missions

In today’s economic climate, OEA and federal government support is essential to communities nationwide as they cope with Defense program changes.

What OEA Can Do For You

OEA has an interdisciplinary staff that works hands-on with communities nationwide over several years to create a positive environment for economic growth, land use strategies, and an enhanced quality of life all through the integration of the military installation into the larger community. To better prepare the community for these transitions, we build and engage relationships with community members, private business, state governments, and the armed forces to ensure a successful transition.

We bring nearly a half a century of experience and best practices to coordinate federal government resources and solve complex problems.

OEA has the:

  • Ability to effectively engage as a neutral facilitator to support positive interface among military departments and state and local governments
  • Understanding of key participants and elements needed to support community economic development
  • Ability to effectively coordinate federal assistance in support of defense-impacted state and local governments
  • Ability to work with local communities and military installations to create a better, more diverse quality of life for all
  • Understanding of comprehensive processes from the perspective of a variety of stakeholders

OEA Assistance Programs

The Defense Economic Adjustment Program, through a variety technical and financial assistance enterprises, helps communities respond to the following situations:

OEA also serves as a focal point for transition assistance from other relevant federal programs that can be applied in a coordinated manner to plan and implement adjustment strategies.


Presentations from the OEA-sponsored conferences are listed below from most recent to the oldest. Please click on the conference titles to read more.

2011 Sustaining Military Readiness (SMR) Conference

The Office of the Secretary of Defense, including the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), hosted the 2011 Sustaining Military Readiness Conference, Connecting Missions, Resources, and Communities, in Nashville, Tennessee, July 25-29, 2011.

The conference brought together Department of Defense civilian and military personnel; public and private sector leaders from military host communities and states; conservation groups; and private consultants to focus on the interdisciplinary nature of sustaining military readiness. Conference attendees shared lessons learned and best practices, attended a broad spectrum of training workshops, and set the course for new and improved partnerships to connect military missions, natural and cultural resources, and communities.

You may watch the videos of several conference seminars on our YouTube page.

OEA presentations include:

2011 Sustaining Military Readiness Conference Agenda

2010 NCR Transportation Forum

Military mission growth at Fort Belvoir, Quantico MCB, Army National Guard Readiness Center, Bethesda NNMC, Andrews AFB, Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground will result in transportation impacts across the National Capital Region (NCR). In response, installations are preparing or updating Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plans to support alternative modes of transportation for their workforce.

During OEA’s November 2009 Defense Community Conference in Orlando, representatives from these installations, the surrounding communities, and the Virginia and Maryland state transportation agencies, gathered to discuss the status of the installation TDM plans and proposed implementation. The NCR Transportation Forum was organized as a follow on meeting to continue the regional discussion of military installation TDM planning/implementation, as well as discuss existing and innovative approaches to promote public transit, rideshare, DoD shuttle bus service, telecommuting, etc. Public and private sector officials provided an overview of “best practices” for TDM planning and implementation to support a successful partnership among state, community and Military Department officials.

NCR Transportation Forum 2010 Agenda

2009 Defense Community Conference

Caribe Royal Hotel, Orlando, Florida, November 2 - 5, 2009

The Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) hosted the 2009 Defense Community Conference, “Partnering for Success” for state and community public officials, installations, DoD and Military Department headquarters’ officials, Federal agencies, and other stakeholders. The conference objective was to provide states and communities the information, skills, and resources necessary for creating and sustaining effective partnerships with the Military Services.

The 2009 Defense Community Conference brought together many of the states and communities DoD is currently partnering with, along with cognizant Federal civilian agencies, to share best practices, confront impediments to success, and explore opportunities for further collaboration. Administration, Federal, state and community officials discussed initiatives, opportunities, and resources, and listened firsthand to the concerns and expressed needs of Defense-impacted areas.

The conference included daily plenary sessions, multiple program tracks focused on compatible use, installation growth (including BRAC, Grow the Army, etc.), BRAC downsizing (including changes to DoD’s reserve component sites), state partnering efforts, and other initiatives.

2007 OEA Growth Summit

The Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) hosted the OEA 2007 Growth Summit in St. Louis, Missouri, Tuesday, December 11 through Thursday, December 13, 2007. More than 20 locales near military installations where mission growth has been announced participated in informational sessions, workshops, and peer networking opportunities, as well as provided feedback to OEA on local growth experiences to date, including techniques or services that have assisted these affected communities to better respond to the anticipated growth.

Summit attendance and participation was by invitation only. Invitees included local elected officials, representatives of growth management organizations, community subject matter leaders from local jurisdictions, State officials, DoD personnel (including OEA, Military Service Headquarters and Field Personnel, and Installation and Command Staff), Federal Officials through the Economic Adjustment Committee, various public interest groups, and additional panelists and presenters.

2007 Sustaining Military Readiness Conference

2006 OSD/Military Service/Community Conference

Economic Adjustment Comittee (EAC)

To support the Defense Economic Adjustment Program, President George H.W. Bush established the Economic Adjustment Committee (EAC) in 1992. The EAC is composed of 22 federal departments and agencies, which have technical and financial assistance programs available to assist communities, businesses, and/or workers with responding to DoD-driven impacts. In 2005, President George W. Bush named the OEA director as executive director of EAC and OEA, responsible for providing the necessary support for the EAC.

The EAC helps coordinate federal intergovernmental assistance to local communities and thus minimize the impact of defense program changes. Specifically, the EAC:

  • Coordinates federal interagency and intergovernmental assistance to support the Defense Economic Adjustment Program and to help states and communities respond to Defense-triggered economic impacts
  • Develops procedures that assist affected states and locales
  • Provides a clearinghouse for information exchanges among federal, state, and local officials involved in economic adjustment activities. These resources touch beneficiaries from the federal level to the individual citizens impacted by downsizing or growth resulting from Defense activities such as base closures, realignments, and similar modifications

Through September 30, 2004, the U.S. Federal government had collectively provided about $1.9 billion in assistance to local communities in response to the 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995 BRAC rounds. This assistance supported worker placement assistance, base reuse planning and property acquisition, site improvements, demolition, and other hard construction activity.

Highlights of federal government support to local communities include:

  • 223 million dollars provided by the Department of Labor (DoL) to help communities retrain dislocated workers
  • 611 million dollars provided by the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administrations (EDA) to assist communities with infrastructure improvements and other site activities
  • 760 million dollars provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to assist with converting former military airfields to civilian use
  • 280 million dollars provided by DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to help communities to plan and carry out adjustment strategies, including base reuse

Members of the EAC can assist local communities with loans, grants, loan guarantees, guidance, outreach, and public benefit conveyance (sponsorship for transfer of surplus federal property to eligible state and local governments for public purpose).

For more information about the coordinated federal resources OEA provides local communities, please view the following publications:

  • Federal Sponsoring Agencies and Public Benefit Conveyances
  • Coordinated Federal Assistance for BRAC Communities
  • Federal Assistance to Impacted Communities catalog

Contact Us

Coming Soon

Our Director

As Director of the Office of Economic Adjustment, Mr. O’Brien leads a talented team of project managers in assisting local economic adjustment efforts on behalf of the Department of Defense. Additionally, he manages the Defense Economic Adjustment Program to assist communities to respond to Defense base closures, realignments, contractor reductions, and base expansions.

Prior to joining OEA, Mr. O’Brien negotiated public-private development packages of various sizes under the Urban Development Action Grant Program, reviewed labor policies, sized federal loan participations, assisted distressed communities in evaluating proposed housing and economic projects, and crafted Executive legislative initiatives for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where he started his Federal career as a Presidential Management Intern. Over this span, he also spent time with the Office of Congressman James Oberstar, working on community and economic development-related issues. Preceding his tenure with the Federal government, Mr. O'Brien was an Assistant Business Developer for the City of Duluth, MN, where he assisted with the reuse of a closed air base; prepared marketing, finance, and business survey packages to assist local development efforts; supported the conversion of a former steel plant; and co-drafted the State's first enterprise zone bill. He also served as a citizen representative to the Duluth Joint Airport Zoning Board.

Mr. O’Brien has authored technical publications, including the OEA Community Guide to Base Reuse and other resources for communities, and led different BRAC implementation policy reviews. He has demonstrated experience with all aspects of the economic adjustment process and has worked a range of issues, including: public-private initiatives; fiscal impact analyses, federal real property disposal; local organization and business plan development; redevelopment planning and finance; and, economic cost-benefit analyses.

He has Bachelor of Arts degrees in Urban Affairs and Political Science from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he graduated “cum laude” and as a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. He also received a Masters of Science degree in Public Management and Policy Analysis from the School of Urban and Public Affairs at Carnegie-Mellon University, where he graduated "with distinction," student-taught organizational management, and was elected to Pi Alpha Alpha. Mr. O'Brien is certified as an “Economic Development Finance Professional” by the National Development Council and graduated from the Federal Executive Institute’s “Leadership for a Democratic Society” as well as Harvard Law School’s “Program on Negotiation.”

More Articles...

  1. Our History