Impact of Base Closings on Texas Examined by Senate Committee
AUSTIN - Military base closings have had a multi-billion dollar impact on the Texas economy. Unless remaining bases are made more valuable to the military, they are in jeopardy of also being closed. That was the message to a joint Senate-House committee at the Capitol today, August 21, 2002.
The Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations met jointly with the House Committee on State, Federal and International Relations, and the Texas Strategic Military Planning Comision. The committees heard from Maj. General (ret.) Joe Robles that both Texas and California have had a a large number of base closures simply because that's where most of the military bases were. Mr. Gary Bushell followed, describing how the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process works. He said that base closures set for 2003 had been postponed to 2005 and that further changes could be coming due to the war on terrorism. David Davis then presented an overview of what factors will be considered in future base closings.
Other witnesses warned the joint committee that base closings are not always based on military needs. For this reason they need to do all they can to make existing military facilities valuable and to support them at the community level. There was also a review of existing Texas military bases and their duties.
After lunch, the group broke up into working sessions so that local officials attending could speak directly with representatives from each branch of the military services on what they could do to help keep local military institutions open.
The committees then reconvened in the auditorium for a discussion of what the military bases themselves are doing to avoid closure.
The acting chair of the Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee is Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso. Members include Senators Craig Estes, Troy Fraser, Carlos Truan and Leticia Van de Putte. The committee recessed subject to call of the chair.