I spent most of Friday morning analyzing the Pentagon's recommendations for base closure and realignment, under the BRAC process. Then, I published a lengthy post on the winners (and losers) so far. Unfortunately, my publishing efforts coincided with scheduled downtime for the Blogger.com site, so the post is lost in some sort of blog purgatory.
This time around, I'll stick with a shorter post, or more accurately, a series of posts. The first looks at the winners in this round of BRAC recommendations.
1. Maryland. Who says blue states can't prosper under Don Rumsfeld's new vision for the Pentagon? Under the BRAC list released on Friday, Maryland would gain a total of 9,293 military and civilian jobs, mostly at Ft Meade, and the bulk of those at the National Security Agency (NSA), which is headquartered at that installation. A nice parting gift for retiring Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes, and Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich.
2. Georgia. The Atlanta metro area was hard-hit by BRAC, losing Ft McPherson, Ft Gillem, and the Atlanta Naval Air Station. However, the "rest"of Georgia (residents would say the "real" Georgia) did just fine, gaining 7,423 military and civilian billets, thanks largely to big increases at Ft Benning (located near Columbus) and the King's Bay naval sub base.
3. Texas. While the Lone Star State also suffered losses (notably the Navy homeport at Ingleside), those reductions were offset by gains at Ft Bliss (11,501 new military and civilian billets) and Ft Sam Houston, which picks up another 9,364 jobs. In all, Texas would post a new gain of 6,150 military and civilian positions under BRAC, which should gladden the hearts of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and a certain former fighter pilot for the Texas Air National Guard.
4. Colorado. BRAC would add 4,917 new jobs in Colorado, thanks largely to a projected increase at Fort Collins. Republican Senator Wayne Allard has been written off more than once by the "experts" in Washington, but Colorado voters keep re-electing him. This is one reason why--Colorado escaped virtually unscathed in the BRAC wars.
5. Oklahoma. Expected gains at Ft Sill (near Lawton) and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City give Oklahoma a net increase on 3,919 jobs.
6. Arkansas. Democratic Senators Blance Lincoln and Mark Pryor were similing on Friday morning, when the Pengaton proposed an increase of 3,585 jobs in their state, thanks to a projected expansion at Little Rock AFB.
7. Florida. Projected job losses at NAS Pensacola are more than offset by gains at Eglin AFB in the Panhandle and NAS Jacksonville. Overall, the Sunshine State would gain 2757 military and civilian billets under BRAC. Never hurts to have friends in the Pentagon. Or the White House.
8. Alabama. Republican Senator Richard Shelby, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, knows a little something about pork barrel politics and keeping BRAC losses out of his backyard. Not only was Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal saved from closure, BRAC would add roughly 2,000 jobs to its employment totals, with many of those at the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC), located at Redstone.
9. Indiana. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), one of the most bloated bureaucracies in all of DOD, is consolidating its operations. The beneficiary of that move is Indiana, which will gain 2,197 military and civilian jobs, many of those at the Indianapolis DFAS officer. Senator Richard Lugar--a former Indianapolis mayor--won't complain about that plan.