April 21, 2015 – WDTN.com (Ohio Channel 2 News), By Beairshelle Edme
FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – State lawmakers are making a big push to prepare for Base Realignment and Closures, better known as BRAC.
Their efforts could have a major impact on Wright Patterson Air Force Base (Wright Patt).
Tuesday, Congressman Mike Turner (R- 10th District) and several state lawmakers held a press conference at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, minutes away from Wright Patt.
The group announced that $5 million will go towards a statewide effort to prepare for BRAC.
Since 2005, Ohio state lawmakers have been concerned with BRAC.
It’s a process where federal officials decide which bases will close; the BRAC Commission will also make cuts and transfer military base employees.
Ohio legislators expect by 2017, realignments and closures will begin, which is why Congressman Mike Turner has urged for action.
“Making sure that you address some of the deficiencies at your facility before the BRAC starts is the most important,” the representative explained. “Once a BRAC process begins, states are prohibited from offering cash incentives for those deficiencies to be addressed.”
The strength of each base and its missions often determines what stays and what goes, and state lawmakers say there’s work to be done at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
“Those weaknesses in many cases are still there. The communities have done what they could but there’s still some weaknesses and this funding through this new commission will get to that,” State Senator Chris Widner (R, 10th District) said.
Wednesday, Ohio lawmakers are expected to approve the state budget; it includes the Commission’s funding of $5 million.
The commission will work to secure military jobs and maintain Ohio bases.
But how much of that money is coming to Wright Patt is still up for debate.
Officials say there are several great military installations in the Buckeye State, and they will have to spread the funding throughout each base.
Asked about the amount of funding coming to Miami Valley’s local base, State House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger explained, “It’s not always about guns and bullets being the most important things to ensure they are equip with. It’s also about making sure they have the tools necessary here at the base and here at home to make sure that they can do their job so that’s what this is about and I think we can see that money facilitate throughout the state.”
Rosenberger has been key in securing the funding and collaborating on the state and federal level with Ohio politicians.
It’s work he hopes will continue to flourish and bring job and economic security to military bases.
“In a time and era, which, you know, the federal government is not stepping up to help in certain areas, we want to make sure as a state, we’re doing the right thing to step up and help create this avenue to help build this infrastructure and make it solid for our military men and women throughout the state,” the speaker said.
State legislators say this will be a long process.
During that time, they hope to double that funding to $10 million, which they hope will help better spread their efforts to place like Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.