The Economic Impact of Base Realignment and Closure on Local Communities
The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, known as the BRAC Commission, is a venue for the United States to reduce the number of military installations in order to become more efficient while maintaining effectiveness. While national security is at the epicenter of this nonpartisan, independent process, there can be adverse affects to local communities when their military installations are realigned or closed. The economic impact on local communities is a factor when considering which installations are to be closed or realigned. However, the BRAC Commission gives priority to their four military value criteria over the four other criteria, including economic impact on the existing community. Most communities are able to recover from base closings but their progress varies. Using data and reports from the United States Government Accountability Office, this study examines the factors that contribute to increasing civilian jobs in communities that have lost jobs due to major base closings and realignments in 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995. There were five factors that played a statistically significant role in determining the number of civilian jobs created, which is one tangible measure of economic revitalization. The five variables were the GAO's estimate of jobs lost initially, army installations, navy installations, time (in years), and federal grants (in thousands of dollars). The best case scenario estimated from this study is a community with an air force base that actively sought and received federal grants over the years. The community will be more likely to create as many jobs or more than what was lost during BRAC. The worst case scenario is a community with an army or navy installation that has environmental issues and the community has not applied and/or received federal grants. The community's economic revitalization will likely be longer and harsher. Every community affected by BRAC in the past or future should actively work with local, state, and federal officials to map out a use for the old military installation and obtain as many federal grants as possible.
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