Monday, April 04, 2005

Connecticut Man Appointed to BRAC Committee

This info is a bit old, but worth talking about. A retired Air Force General, Floyd Newton, will take an open spot on the BRAC committee. He is from Connecticut. Previously, the panel didn't have anyone from the Northeast at all. This is a step in the right direction, but by no means guarantees the Groton base will stay open.

There are already several strikes against New England bases, including cold weather, a high cost of living and communities not seen as "military-friendly". Hopefully Newton will be able to counter some of that.

A Connecticut man. Interesting. President Bush certainly didn't have to pick someone from here. He could be feeling the need to shore up Republican support in the wake of the Schaivo mess and his diminishing Social Security numbers... A few months ago, the administration was acting like it didn't need Shays or Simmons. Maybe now they do.


Anonymous said...

Don't get your hopes up.
One of the Two Sub Bases on the east coast has to go.I know it's hard to accept but with John Warner (R Virginia) the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee It certainly isn't going to be his. Even if it's not slated for Closure when the BRAC is released it is not going to EVER be a major manufacturer of subs again and will be slowly decommissioned.

Genghis Conn said...

The Navy has wanted to consolidate its Atlantic sub operations in Virginia for some time. I don't hold out much hope, really.

As for Electric Boat, they've been on the rocks for years. They seem to limp along from contract to contract, without a guarantee of steady work.

This is why projects like Utopia Studios are important; they can fill a small part of the economic hole left by the base/plant closure.

stomv said...

What is the national argument for keeping the Groton base open?

I agree that it's good for the local economy, but is it a good idea for the USA to keep it open? Personally, I'd love to see the US Mil streamline where it makes sense -- and I'm at Hanscom in MA 2 or 3 times a week. I have no sense for which bases are cost-efficient and which aren't... and so I ask: why keep the CT sub base open?

Genghis Conn said...

I don't know that it does make economic sense to keep it open. This is an expensive place to be. Does it make sense militarily to close it? I'm only an armchair general, so I really couldn't say with any authority, but it seems that putting all the Atlantic subs at a single location is risky.

Other than that? I don't know. The case for Groton doesn't seem particularly strong.

Great Santini said...

I worked on BRAC '95 for the DOD. I was surprised Groton survived that round of base closings. There are three major bases in New England - Groton, NAS Brunswick, and the Naval War College in Newport, RI. The Navy will never close the Naval War College. Maine has two Republican senators. All Groton has is Rob Simmons and Jody Rell.

The DOD looks at a lot of things in closing a base, including cost to maintain the base, military value, other tenant commands and agencies, cost of maintaining housing, cost of living in area around the base, retiree base, etc. Most of these items are a significant disadvantage for Groton.

Even if selected for closing, it will take at least six years to close down the base. A lot of money will be spent in the local economy closing the base and transferring it to civilian use.

The State of Connecticut and Southeast CT would be wise to accept the inevitable and cut the best deal they can with the DOD.

Anonymous said...

Very good comment Great Santini,
Having your economic viability dependent on the ups and downs of the defense budget and which party controls the levers of Gov. is a risky buisness which leads to many boom and bust cycles.CT,as a state should make the decision to turn the very educated and skilled workforce in the area of the sub base towards something less bumpy and invest the money and resources neccasary for this transition.Hopefully the feds will chip in their fair share.