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13 January 2018

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turcopolier

All

I asked Harper to research and write this to examine the claim made by Governor Cuomo, etc., that high state income tax states are unfairly exploited by other states in which a great deal of federal money is spent. the truth is that the rich states have been very willing to see the closure of federal naval and military installations and the movement of the units based on these abandoned sites to places like Texas for example. When an old army post is closed the really beautiful housing is sold on the local market. pl

Eadwacer

A RN Captain once said to me that the reason the Army had so many really nice waterside bases -- and O-clubs -- was that at one point in history the defense of harbors and cities was based on forts with cannon at the entrance. These are not needed so much today.

Similarly, many of the USAF installations in the NE are there to ward off the Soviet Bear/Bison threat (Otis once hosted early AWACS, and interceptors), or are smaller facilities, like radar stations on hilltops. That's how you fit 19 bases into a state a quarter the size of Virginia.

But these are mostly, ultimately, relatively, low-impact, because of size or because they are embedded in an existing economic web that can take up the slack.

The real pain is felt by essentially rural communities, where the military presence is bigger than Walmart. The real question is, if you close a base here, do you have a better option elsewhere? Can you justify moving the 10th from one rural base to another? From Ft Drum, to, let's say it, ... a shithole base like Ft Hood? The weather will certainly be better, and there will be a lot more open terrain for training. I am thinking that the local communities ought to be emphasizing the military advantages as much as they do the economics, and leave the economic/political side to their Congressmen.

raven

Here in Athens, GA the Navy Supply Corps School closed and was replaced by the Medical College of Georgia. It has been better for the community since most of the former occupants were able to shop at the BX. The thing I miss is the bugle, I lived by it for 20 years.

Eadwacer

I am making this as a second comment because the topic is different enough and controversial enough to warrant it.

The economic impact on the community argument is the high end of a discussion about the proper social role of the military in society.

When we talk about enlisting people who have been low performers in civilian life, who maybe have been in trouble with the law ("sentence suspended if you enlist"), who are otherly gendered, we are asking the same question, only at an individual level.

Across this spectrum, we know the military has an impact, that the nation will be different if we spend billions of dollars here, rather than there, or maybe thousands of dollars on them. How you answer the one question will inform how you answer the other.

james

interesting.. thanks harper... take away line "..at the same time that the domestic base closings are proceeding, the U.S. military footprint abroad is expanding."

here is another interesting observation based on a story in 'thenation.com' - "The poll brings home just how divorced the Beltway—and its think tanks, media outlets, and political class—is from the expressed desire of a large majority of Americans for a responsible and reasonable foreign policy, a policy that, arguably, has been absent since the end of the Cold War." the articles title - "A New Poll Shows the Public Is Overwhelmingly Opposed to Endless US Military Interventions"...

why is it usa politicians are so out of sync with this? are they indeed paid to be this way? or is it 'paid off' to be this way?

tv

Cuomo is proof that there are more asses than horses.
He has, single handedly - by fighting fracking in the Southern Tier - sure that that area sinks into permanent depression.
He is a sanctimonious (like his "sainted" father) and likely corrupt P.O.S.
It's true that people get the government they deserve....kind of.
The people of upstate NY don't deserve the history of punishment and oppression from being tied to NY City and it's suburbs.
Harper notes that NY doesn't care about the loss of military bases;that really means NYC

Fred

Col.,

"When an old army post is closed the really beautiful housing is sold on the local market. "

That's precisely what happened with the base in San Francisco. I believe the well connected recieved on heck of a windfall. The same happened with much of the housing in Key West, FL.

Green Zone Café

I dispute that New York, Massachusetts and the rest of the Northeast "willingly went along" with base closings.

In Massachusetts, the closure of Boston Naval Shipyard is called "Nixon's Revenge." The thought was it were political. There were a lot of jobs in the naval shipyards.

BRAC came after that, but it's still politically subject to Congress. Republican "Red State" control means those states keep all the bases, with a few exceptions for show.

The military effect is that the fleet, army, and air force are concentrated in a few huge "Joint Bases" in a few states. In the case of the Navy, more easily bottled up or struck.

The cultural effect is a feedback loop: the military has little visibility in many states, while it is everywhere in others. Young people enlist for "station of choice" near their hometown. Many of those who enlist for their hometown base are the 17 year old guy with a 16 year old pregnant wife. These guys end up being more of a leadership challenge than single troops, when they are "surprised" by a deployment, or they run out of money after profligate spending on a car and widescreen TV, or their wives find one of their platoon mates sexier.

Over the long term, the military adopts of the values of the states they are in. More Evangelical Christianity less Methodism, Catholicism, Judaism or agnosticism. More Tea Party, less Let's Party!

Just one more trend leading to fracturing the country.

Reggie

Years ago they closed Ft. Sheridan, IL. The fix was in. It was sold for a pittance. Lake front/beach property on Chicago's north shore is worth a fortune. The taxpayers were shafted big time. I'm sure this is not an isolated instance.

aka

sirs,
why exactly are the bases being closed?
Is it because the military is decreasing in size or because the the military is concentrating their manpower in to fewer number of places?

JohnH

It would be interesting to know how much of that $150-200 billion spent on foreign military bases stays out of the country. Though much military aid gets returned in the form of purchases to American companies, my guess is that the bulk of that $150-200 billion, even if spent with American contractors, stays overseas, since companies like to source abroad, hire foreign employees, and keep profits abroad. This 'leakage' from the American economy could represent a significant drag.

When the US economy started to stall in 2008, Bush got a stimulus package of $150 billion enacted. If $150 billion injected into the economy could jump start it, I have to believe that $150-200 billion could help stall it...and reduce long term economic growth when leakage is chronic.

I have asked prominent economists about this. They haven't a clue.

J

You hit the nail on the head when you said 'Pentagon bean counters'. Think tanks who have hidden agendas (overseas lily pads aka 800 plus bases abroad in foreign countries) have been prodding the Pentagon and Congressional politicians and their staffs. Namely they don't give a damn about Mom and Pop America, just like the Mercs (oops I meant the politically correct term Private Military Contractors) whose only concern is their bottom line and their personal skins that are constantly advocating unnecessary foreign wars involving the U.S..

Pentagon Bean counters, Think Tanks with foreign agendas who have sold their American souls to the devil so-to-speak.

Time that Mom and Pop America stopped the Pentagon's bean counter bull shit and took back and slapped the pea wod out of the Pentagon bean counters who haven't a clue as to the damage they're doing to our fundamental national security.

If we were to be invaded tomorrow by an outside nation with a good size standing army, we don't have the infrastructure at home to defend ourselves anymore, it's all outside CONUS and overseas. And by the time the resources and personnel were sent back to CONUS it would be too little too late.

The UN invading Chicago, and various reports of pre-positioned UN tanks, helicopters, and armored personnel carrier assets now sitting in Colorado and at other locations nationwide for starters.

BRAC is a threat to U.S. national security, full stop and needs to be shit canned!

I say to the JCS they need wake up and pull their heads out of their asses before its too little too late.

J

You hit the nail on the head when you said 'Pentagon bean counters'. Think tanks who have hidden agendas (overseas lily pads aka 800 plus bases abroad in foreign countries) have been prodding the Pentagon and Congressional politicians and their staffs. Namely they don't give a damn about Mom and Pop America, just like the Mercs (oops I meant the politically correct term Private Military Contractors) whose only concern is their bottom line and their personal skins that are constantly advocating unnecessary foreign wars involving the U.S..

Pentagon Bean counters, Think Tanks with foreign agendas who have sold their American souls to the devil so-to-speak.

Time that Mom and Pop America stopped the Pentagon's bean counter bull shit and took back and slapped the pea wod out of the Pentagon bean counters who haven't a clue as to the damage they're doing to our fundamental national security.

If we were to be invaded tomorrow by an outside nation with a good size standing army, we don't have the infrastructure at home to defend ourselves anymore, it's all outside CONUS and overseas. And by the time the resources and personnel were sent back to CONUS it would be too little too late.

The UN invading Chicago, and various reports of pre-positioned UN tanks, helicopters, and armored personnel carrier assets now sitting in Colorado and at other locations nationwide for starters.

BRAC is a threat to U.S. national security, full stop and needs to be shit canned!

I say to the JCS they need wake up and pull their heads out of their asses before its too little too late.

Bill H

This discussion always gives rise, for me, to the question of what is the mission of the United States military. Is it to provide for the defense of the nation, or is it to support local economies throughout the nation? It seems to me that serving the latter purpose is in all liklihood detrimental to the former purpose.

Mathiasalexander

If industry has departed for cheaper offshore locations then where will the money to pay for the bases come from?

LeaNder

The economic aspect of US troops presence was one of the issues discussed over here in Germany, I vaguely recall. Removing US presence in Germany, moving it more East? Was that it? From that perspective Harper's short contribution covers partly familiar ground for this outsider.

Lars

I live very close to Patrick AFB and many AF officers admit that that base does not have a critical military mission. It is however, a very popular base to be stationed at, especially for those at the end of their careers.

If it was sold to private interests, it would generate a lot of money. There is the substantial ocean front undeveloped real estate. I imagine a lot of fairly large corporations would love to have offices there, with a large airfield next door. With the golf course and marina, it would be even more desirable.

Patrick AFB barely made it in past base closings and I am sure at some point, it may be chosen. The economic fallout may even be positive, due to the location. I am sure the federal government could use a couple of billions too.

turcopolier

aka

About 30 years ago DoD decided that there were a lot of facilities that were no longer needed because of various factors; the disappearance of the frontier, no need for coast artillery, a desire to move combat troops to large posts that had a lot of training area, and to be honest because the real estate people coveted the older places for the value of the land and buildings especially the houses. Local Congressional leaders were politically too cowardly to vote to close such facilities because of the loss of income to their constituents so a process was invented in which congress did not have to vote on closings. This process has been implemented in successive trenches and is a kind of juggernaut. The point of Harper's piece is that the rich and highly taxed states have often been very approving of base closures that removed a lot of federal money from their states. This, however, does not keep these states from complaining that federal money is spent elsewhere. pl

turcopolier

mathiasalexander

We have been paying for all that with borrowed money and will continue to do so. pl

Fred

Eadwacer,

"When we talk about enlisting people who have been low performers in civilian life, who maybe have been in trouble with the law ("sentence suspended if you enlist"), who are otherly gendered, we are asking the same question, only at an individual level."

The prior administration was the only one to push the cultural marxist line that there are more than two genders. I'm sure when Senator Bradley Chelsea Manning is in office that will change. Those "low performers in civilian life" did a number of Germany and Japan's best. You can read about it in the non-revised history books.

LeaNder

BX"

raven, for whatever reason I recall that as PX in Berlin. Didn't I pay enough attention on the consonants? But that was from a British Army environmental female perspective, admittedly, at the time. ... Or should I start to consider b in Greece vs b in German consonant wise versus English/American/British variants in phonemes?

Babak Makkinejad

I am curious about the quality of roads on domestic US Military bases. Are they well constructed to endure well for long or are they of the same (or worse) quality as those of Michigan and NYC that are constructed by corruption infused local governments?

turcopolier

Babak

On ground force bases that have large training areas there are a lot of dirt roads out in the field. in the cantonment areas or aerodrome areas it has always seemed to me that the roads were well built and maintained. This is an activity and responsibility of the installation engineer. pl

turcopolier

LeaNder

The US army refers to its installations as "posts." All the rest call theirs "bases." pl

upstater

Domestic military bases should not be a substitute for economic development.

Expansion of Ft. Drum had a huge economic impact on Northern NY State; the differences over the past 25 years are remarkable. Expansion was part of the "deal" Moynihan made by shutting down Griffiss (it still has research functions), Plattsburgh and Stewart.

Obviously, if Ft. Drum closed, there would be a whole lot of hurt in northern NY. However, the region once had a vibrant manufacturing sector which has been largely off-shored. The Ag sector has been consolidated into factory farms, but the Amish are buying up a lot of abandoned smaller holdings. Away from Watertown, the entire region is being de-populated and has very limited high wage employment opportunities besides healthcare, education and prisons.

The larger question is whether spending $1 Trillion on "all things national security" is providing necessary services at good value to the country. To me it seems to enrich all sorts of grifters and their coterie. There is a good reason that 7 out of the 10 richest counties in the US are in the DC suburbs.

The contrast between Ft. Drum and CFB Kingston Ontario is striking. The Canadian base looks like an abandoned industrial site, while Drum hosts the equivalent of half the Canadian Army. If one had to choose between living in Watertown, NY and Kingston, ON, few would choose Watertown. How and where government spends its money has a huge impact on quality of life.

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