NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Ignoring Facts, Congress Invariably Opposes Base Closings

July 30, 2001

Closing no longer needed military bases saves taxpayers billions of dollars. Moreover, base closings more often than not stimulate local economies, despite dire predictions that the withdrawal of federal funds will leave them decimated.

But to Congress the illusion among voters of impending disaster is much more important than the facts. So invariably members circle the wagons and fight off closures.

  • After 97 major bases in 28 states and Guam were closed between 1988 and 1995, and 55 others where reduced or realigned, the net savings have been estimated to total $14 billion so far.
  • An additional $5.6 billion per year in savings is predicted to start accruing next year, according to the General Accounting Office.
  • After the former Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire was closed, 100 private businesses sprang up on the site -- providing 4,100 jobs in the region.
  • Charleston, S.C., realized 3,300 new jobs following closure of naval facilities there.

Federal officials say there are more people working now on the sites of bases closed in 1992-93 than when they were shut down.

The Bush administration is looking for a contribution of at least another $3 billion a year from base closings. It wants to use the money to help finance the modernization of the military in the coming decade.

But Congress is, once again, resisting.

Source: Editorial, "Congress Resists Pentagon Plans to Shutter Excess Bases," USA Today, July 30, 2001.

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