Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) has and will continue to experience significant changes in mission, management, and population due to the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions, which joined the former Fort Lewis Base with McChord Air Force Base. Additional growth has resulted from Grow the Army, Army Modular Force initiatives, and Global Defense Posture Review. These actions added more than 15,000 military, civilian, and contractor personnel to the region between 2003 and 2010, with an additional 2,000 personnel projected by 2016. JBLM is now the largest military installation on the west coast of the United States.
Located in the South Puget Sound region of Washington, Joint Base Lewis-McChord covers a 136 square mile area in Pierce and Thurston Counties, and affects the neighboring communities of Lakewood, Tacoma, Lacey, Yelm, Puyallup, Olympia, DuPont, and Steilacoom.
With regional coordination facilitated by the City of Lakewood, the community sought to address the impacts of growth at Joint Base Lewis-McChord by developing a detailed operational traffic model of the Interstate 5 (I-5) freeway ramps and adjacent arterial network for the immediate area affected by JBLM growth, and by preparing a comprehensive JBLM Growth Coordination Plan. The City of Lakewood, Washington State Department of Transportation, regional stakeholders, and the consultant team completed the I-5 Analysis in June 2010. The JBLM Growth Coordination Plan, released in December 2010, provides a comprehensive assessment of existing conditions and outstanding needs to respond to military growth across 10 task areas, including economic impact, education, healthcare, housing, planning and land use, public safety and emergency services, quality of life, social services, transportation, and utilities and infrastructure. Three overarching challenges emerged: (1) inadequate access to information; (2) inadequate access to services; and (3) lack of coordination.
The JBLM Growth Coordination Plan seeks to address these challenges through a series of six recommendations organized into two categories: foundational and targeted. Foundational recommendations include; (1) formalize new methods of collaboration; and (2) improve access to information. Targeted recommendations include: (1) improve access to existing services; (2) promote JBLM as a center of regional economic significance; (3) improve support for military families; and (4) improve regional mobility. In response to a call for better regional coordination, the region formed the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP) in June 2011. The SSMCP prioritized strategies of the JBLM Growth Coordination Plan and, with financial support from the Office of Economic Adjustment, elected to focus initially on conducting a demographic and needs survey of JBLM service members, improving the jblm-growth.com website as an information clearinghouse, preparing a communications work plan and outreach materials, and holding a variety of stakeholder events, such as a military contracting forum, a military and communities forum, and regional elected officials briefings.
In addition, the Washington State Employment Security Department received a $4.8M National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in January 2011. The grant created an organizational structure and training capacity in Pierce and Thurston Counties to support about 825 military spouses and civilian defense workers affected by BRAC.
To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth Profile, click here.