Friday, May 13, 2005

Base Realigment and Closing

I'm subbing for POYS today, who is recovering from his unexpected detour into upstate New York as he tried to travel from Boston to New Jersey yesterday.

The Pentagon announced today its recommendations for which military bases to close or realign over the coming years. When I was watching New England local news this morning, the commentators noted that the region stands to lose some 14,500 jobs and were openly speculating that the Bush administration wanted to hit the bluest of blue states hard. It seemed plausible enough to me, and I would have bet the store that Florida and Ohio would see the biggest job gains in this round of restructuring. According to the Pentagon's list, however, Maryland - quite a blue state if I may say so - is actually in line to gain the most jobs at 9,293. Perhaps not surprisingly, Texas is next at 6,150 projected job gains. Ohio, on the other hand, is slated to lose 241 jobs and Pennsylvania is slated to lose 1,878. But the biggest shocker has got to be South Dakota, which under the proposal would lose its Air Force base and a whopping 3,797 jobs out of a total state population of 764,309. This is quite embarrassing to freshman Republican Senator John Thune, who promised in his campaign against former Democratic Leader Tom Daschle that he would be able to save the base. Aside from Texas, then, it doesn't seem like the Pentagon proposal is egregiously political.

While I’m no military strategist, this whole episode seems a bit strange to me. The savings are estimated to be $48.8 billion over the next 20 years, which works out to about $2.5 billion annually, or approximately 0.5% of the total Pentagon budget. I think that buys you about one top of the line airplane nowadays. Numerous small communities will be devastated by the loss of their military bases, and that seems like a high price to pay for an extra 20 planes over the next 20 years. Perhaps Rumsfeld can now spare a few more dollars for body armor?

2 Comments:

Blogger sling said...

yeah albany hatred...

I had heard about the closing of certain shipyards in Maine but didn't realized that there were widespread military cuts to bases across the United States.

I do think that many of those bases are probably unnecessary and some cuts in the military budget may be more practical as money can be better used elsewhere. It's also not practical to keep bases open (that need not be open) for the sake of keeping jobs at the expense of taxpayers across the nation.

Besides, even if they do get an extra 20 planes, each of those 20 planes will be paying for the salaries of lots of other workers over the course of many years.

I still don't see why budy armor was not a top priority. The military wasted enough money on other stuff in Iraq and a lot of money was mismanaged.

5/13/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

budy armor?

Hey, buddy, you do mind standing in front of me during an assault?

5/16/2005 04:01:00 PM  

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