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13 January 2018


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oops, missed GA. Sorry raven. How was be abbreviation coined anyway? I guess I I may have once known. Still have this visual image of the place and its location. Did I mistake B for P then?

Would this be helpful?



Why should the military, their bases, and the communities around them, be immune from the same sort of neoliberal discipline imposed on the industrial midwest, the Appalachian coal fields, etc. ? Those areas at least generated real economic activity which produced commodities and products rather than simply shuffling tax revenue from one hand to another.

The performance of the military the past few decades has been unsatisfactory, in my view. I'll allow that much of their portfolio has been Mission Impossible, but they've been unable to guard the borders of either the US or Europe, which seems a rather straightforward proposition. The only commodities they have secured seem to be opium.

Perhaps some market discipline will improve their performance?

A serious audit from top to bottom of the organizations (and their civilian contractors) - followed of course by indictments for negligence and accounting fraud - might provide a more accurate picture of where to begin. Maybe then we can find out if they have managed their equipment better than, say, Baltimore has it's snowplows.

Or is there something to military Keynesianism? If so, then why not apply this to other areas?



" ...guard the borders of either the US or Europe, which seems a rather straightforward proposition." These are NOT assigned missions of the US military and have not been for many, many years, If you want to give the military responsibility for securing the southern border you should expect that there would be a lot of dead Mexicans and other foreign Latinos. pl



Come on! Playing dumb? Whether they are called Post Exchanges, Base Exchanges, Marine Corps Exchanges, they are all service run not for profit stores on military installations. pl

robt willmann

Although from only a quick checking, I think that the following are the main laws passed by Congress on military base realignment and closure (BRAC).

The first one was Public Law 100-526, signed by president Ronald Reagan on 24 October 1988. The text is not readily available because it is from around the year before digital versions of laws were created that could be easily found through a computer. The sponsor was the legendary Democratic Senator John Stennis of Mississippi--


The bill summary from the House conference report says--

"Title II: Closure and Realignment of Military Installations - Directs the Secretary of Defense to: (1) close or realign all military installations as recommended by the Commission on Base Realignment and Closure; and (2) initiate and complete all such closures and realignments by specified dates.

"Outlines administrative provisions relating to the following: (1) conditions required of the Secretary and the Commission with regard to such closures and realignments; (2) Commission membership and duties; (3) the implementation of such closures or realignments by the Secretary; (4) the applicability of certain current Federal laws to these provisions; (5) the waiver of certain restrictions in order to carry out these provisions; (6) studies and reports required of the Secretary; (7) funding (through the establishment and deposit of funds into the Department of Defense Base Closure Account); and (8) congressional procedures to be followed with regard to the consideration by both Houses of the Congress of the Commission's report."


Then, in an interesting twist, the next Congress, the 101st, addressed the subject again in Public Law 101-510, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991, signed by president George Bush Sr. on 5 November 1990--


It was in Title 24, parts 'A' and 'B' of the legislation, sections 2901-2926, called the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990--



Recently, on 12 December 2017, Public Law 115-91, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, was signed by president Trump. It contains two sections on base realignment and closure, sections 2701 and 2702--

"Sec. 2701. Authorization of Appropriations for Base Realignment and Closure Activities Funded Through Department of Defense Base Closure Account.
Funds are hereby authorized to be appropriated for fiscal years beginning after September 30, 2017, for base realignment and closure activities, including real property acquisition and military construction projects, as authorized by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (part A of title XXIX of Public Law 101-510; 10 U.S.C. 2687 note) and funded through the Department of Defense Base Closure Account established by section 2906 of such Act (as amended by section 2711 of the Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (division B of Public Law 112-239; 126 Stat. 2140)), as specified in the funding table in section 4601.

"Sec. 2702. Prohibition on Conduction Additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Round.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round."




In section 4601 of this bill, down a ways in that section, is a list of funding for some BRAC activities.

On a different topic, section 4602 is kind of interesting, with its title, "Sec. 4602. Military Construction for Overseas Contingency Operations (In Thousands of Dollars)".


Norfolk and San Diego.
Did the Navy ever hear of Pearl Harbor?


The JCS?
Politicians dressed up like doormen.


The very reprehensible Madama Albright may have unwittingly pointed the way towards a truth with her condescending query to Colin Powell: "what's the point of having this wonderful military if you don't use it?" If that question doesn't put in evidence a propensity to out of control miltary mission creep, I can't think of anything that would. We are where we are today in great measure as a consequence of that ignorant utilitarian mindset towards the military. The Nation's military is people who have signed on for the defense of the Nation, Madama Dumbo, and as has been said, "a Nation is a place people are willing to die for."
With that said, no doubt there are economic and social implications that reverberate through the politics of maintaining the institutional Military, the so called MI complex. I wouldn't argue that they aren't important, as they certainly are if you live in town that is about to be gutted, or further gutted after having lost a manufacturing reason for existence to China, Viet Nam, Indonesia, or somewhere like that. I would just argue that important as these considerations are, they are still of secondary importance. This means that if the place is without critical military significance it can expect lip service from the military planners and lip service as well from the virtue signaling Beltway politicians, particulary left wingers, who, apart from paying taxes, are free riders for what the military provides, National Defense; they don't know any military people; don't want to know any military people; and are interested in the institutional miltary only as a lab where they can run social engineering experiments. These people have zero emotional attachment to the military; and they have zero emotional attachment to the 'deplorable' little people in out of the way places that are affected by base closings.
As I recall, back in the 80's when Reagan was President and Koch was Mayor, and Brooklyn and Staten Island had more unreclaimed shithole neighborhoods that it currrently does, some consideration was being given to homeporting a carrier group in Staten Island with all the infrastructure spending and economic boost that such a commitment carried along with it. I think even Koch supported it because the city was not doing well at the time. The idea stayed afloat for little more than a New York minute before the anti-nukers mobilized to blow it out of the water. Make NY anymore of a target than it already was, nah - life is too good on the upper west side.
Local support for the military beyond token lip service very much depends on where you are. Take my little NJ town. It's been around for a while. The library has a memorial plaque in the vestibule: there are two long rows of names from the First World War; there are two longer rows of names from the Second World War; there are 3 names from Viet Nam, one of whom I happen to know was decorated with the Congressional Medal of Honor; there are no more names. In the local pub, there is a memorial box on display containing the American Flag that covered the funeral casket of the owner's brother when he came home from Viet Nam. Most of the people who go in there don't know Viet Nam from a place where Nike wound up making sneakers.
This town voted 91% for Hillary Clinton, same number as the Upper West Side of Manhattan and gentrified Brooklyn. How would these people even begin to give thought to towns dying because a military reservation is being closed. Virtually none of them has ever been on a miltary reservation and they have no use for small towns. I think of these people and I think of my nephew who left his two legs in Afghanistan, one just below the knee and the other just above, and I try to imagine what it is that connects them. I do not have a ready answer to that, there is something deeply disordered in our national bloodstream.
Maybe the places that offer their sons and daughters to the Military to be ill used as tools by our politicians deserve to be the beneficiaries of some uneconomic spending - maybe balance the ledger just a little.


It's time for universal service. Every citizen at 18: Two years to their country. Then we have a use for all the bases Stateside.

Karl Kolchak

So how is this any different from flat out welfare?



There are close to 25,000,000 Americans between 18 and 24 years old. What are you going to do when you put all of them on active duty - effectively giving the US an armed force twice the size of what we had in WW2?

scott s.

BRAC was not just about closing bases, it also was a downsizing. We own a house just outside of Ft Ord in CA. 7th ID was terminated. But in general locals didn't care that much, and in truth the area has made out pretty good since the development of Cal State Monterey Bay.

Brooklyn Naval Shipyard was a building yard. It may not have been as cost effective as civilian yards, but it did give the USN hands-on expertise which it doesn't get any more. We are totally dependent on contractors for naval architecture. The area around the old shipyard and Staten Island were built up as part of SecNav Lehman's idea to move the fleet out of high concentration areas. So they were easy picking to get the "peace dividend". We were also going to reopen Hunters Point (which the CA congressional delegation supported) but that fell victim as well. Then we closed Philly, Charleston, Mare Island, and Long Beach so we really have divested quite a bit of capability.

Hawaii is a high tax blue state, but traditionally our US congressional delegation has been measured by its ability to bring home the bacon. That's pretty much protected us, though they did close NAS Barbers Point and move the resident VP squadrons to MCAS K Bay. Since Sen Inouye's passing we have been losing clout and when the P-3 squadrons retired they decided to base all the replacement P-8 squadrons at Whidbey Island WA.

For overseas, I don't think the metric of "number of bases" has much meaning. Actual combat power (brigades, wings/squadrons, and ships) is much more relevant).


Sadly, we need Generals with balls, like the now Retired Gen. Dempsey. So many do not have any real experience (Combat) to help shape their decision making.

Too many coffee klatches and butter croissants, not enough K/C rats/MREs. Most wouldn't know what to do with a green Lucky Strike pack in their Ks, let alone ever seeing Ks. IMO a prerequisite for being promoted to BG and beyond is having the mud the blood and the beer experience before they're even considered.

Damn, I miss Hack!


Scott S

You are OT. The post was about the impact on local US economies of DoD expenditures. It was not about force structure. i should have deleted your comment. pl

Green Zone Café

Babak, the quality of roads on military bases vary, but are usually above that of local municipalities. On quiet bases, you will see cracking on the asphalt from the age of the road.

Flavius mentioned the idea to homeport some of the Atlantic Fleet at Staten Island. A few ships were there for a brief period, and the end of the Soviet Union and cuts to the fleet led to the base's closure. As was said it was purely political for Koch - Newport was already available for "strategic homeporting," probably Naval Stations Earle and Bayonne as well.

There is still a Navy Lodge there on Staten Island, however. That leads to another complaint. I used to be able to stay at the Ft. Myer and Ft. McNair Army Lodging when in the DC area for a reasonable price of $30-60 a night. The McNair lodging, which was a lovely old brick building on the banks of the Potomac, was closed. The Myer lodging was privatized, so it is now $150 a night. Worse, the Ft. Hamilton lodging in Brooklyn is also privatized by the Intercontinental Hotels Group. The Governor's Island Coast Guard lodging is lost altogether. Used to be a great place to stay, and the free ferry to lower Manhattan was a feature. Ah well, the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club on Manhattan is still open.

To paraphrase Albright, what's the point of having a military unless there are cheap lodgings and P/BXs all over the country for reservists and retirees to use? Thank God the Navy and Air Force haven't succumbed to neoliberal privatization of base lodging like the Army did.

It's incredible that Ft. Drum would be on the list. It's the only major Army facility in the Northeast, and if you have a "Mountain" division, is close to the Vermont National Guard mountain training course.


I don't suggest they would all be on active military duty for the full time. Service does not mean exclusively military service. I acknowledge the problem of perception abroad of having all our youth have military training. IF the Department of Education started out as a good idea, it has lost its way in many respects. And this project, too, could be hijacked. I think we need universal experiences as citizens of the U.S. and this plus an education in English, would be my second. In return I would offer two years of advanced training.



I'm very supportive of this idea. A year of boot camp where no iGadget, TV, video games are permitted, followed by a year of service in our communities. I also believe we should reinstate the draft and have a law that kids and grandkids of all members of Congress and the executive branch are the first to be called up in a draft.

Babak Makkinejad

So, you want to subject the young people to the whims of an impersonal government bureaucracy in order to accomplish exactly what? Fill the pot holes of roads in Michigan, caused by generational corruption? Or go die on some shit hole country in order for a politician to get elected? And how about the comely young females in this scheme of things?

Babak Makkinejad

The number was close to 12 million.


I am trying to understand the logic of this discussion. Clearly the military establishment of the United States is gargantuan and therefore there is room to trim its size, or so I think.

Such a trimming involves the closure of uneconomic or unneeded bases or facilities.

That such a trimming involves local economic dislocation is understood.

Are we therefore discussing how to ameliorate the economic effects of base closure and the best way to proceed for the public good? That I can understand.

In Australia, like the USA, the military occupies some prime real estate, as far as I can tell as a result of defence imperatives of 150 years ago or more. North and Middle heads, Woollomoloo naval docks in Sydney are worth billions to property developers, as was Point Nepean and Queenscliffe Fort near Melbourne.

To me these bases are public assets and in my opinion should be retained/repurposed for for public benefit if possible or disposed of in a transparent process if not.

For example the old base and fortifications at Point Nepean, guarding the entrance to Port Phillip are now a national park after a fight with extremely well heeled property developers from the adjoining resort enclave of Portsea.




You missed the point. The real estate involved is not highly valued by DoD however picturesque it may be. It is passe (French past participal). What Harper pointed out is that the high state income tax states typically claim that they do not receive enough federal money but they have been quite willing to see federal military installations go away with all the income they deposit locally. pl



If you had ever fought anyone you would know that you wouldn't want these p---ies in the ranks. pl


'To me these bases are public assets and in my opinion should be retained/repurposed for for public benefit if possible..."

Agree completely. Given so many decisions are made poorly (ignorance &/or avarice), let's defer to a future date, hoping policy-making isn't as questionable. At least have a new set of decision-makers screw it up.

The discussion reminds me of the many unfortunate consequences of how our society-at-large & military services subculture have split and drift further apart. Social behavior & values are context for economic decisions. The split is not a good thing in a republic. More reason to institute citizen public service on a national scale.


Like Green Zone, I would dispute that people in the NE are glad to have bases close. In Pennsylvania closings have been fought. The only ones I can think of in Pennsylvania that went down w/o a big fight, and there was still a fight, were ones in the cities, and those closings did not adversely affect the communities. I would like to see this claim backed up with some real data.



steve and GZC

I have been in the military community all my long life and if you don't think that the moneyed interests in these states were indifferent to the posts and hostile to the military presence then you have not paid much attention. there are exceptions. I watched Al d'Amato curse and scream at Clapper for an hour over two buildings at the nearly abandoned Army post at Ft. Totten , New York. the funny thing was that he had no idea what DIA did there. I loved it. Of course the local civilians wanted to keep their pay and contracts but that is meaningless. pl

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