Sunday, May 15, 2005

The South wins

CSM reported During the past four base-closure rounds, success was a simple equation for military towns: Don't lose the base. With the release of the Pentagon's new list last Friday, however, it has become obvious that this year, for the first time, there will be actual winners - and that overwhelmingly, the core of American military might is shifting southward.

Land is much less expensive there. Besides there are more Red States there <grin>
Unlike past rounds, when the Defense Department cut through its bases with broad strokes, seeking to maximize cost savings after the cold war, this year's list is about aligning America's network of bases for the needs of the next century. In the South, the Pentagon has apparently found its ideal environment: proximity to the coasts for rapid deployment, cheap and plentiful land, and a culture more tied to martial traditions.... History suggests, however, that the commission makes few changes to the Pentagon's suggestions. If that trend continues, the South will be the biggest winner. In fact, it would be the only region to actually gain jobs though the realignment. Half of the states set to gain at least 1,000 jobs are in Dixie. Three more - Maryland, Kansas, and Oklahoma - are on the fringe.
And if the Yankees keep giving us trouble, we will be ready for them. <grin>
In some respects, the shift is only one part of a bigger change in basing strategy. In all, some 800 installations were tabbed for closure, most of them small outposts of Defense Department accountants or far-flung reserve centers. Consolidating more functions at larger bases means that the military doesn't have to pay for leased space or defend as many sites. "A lot of this is force protection," says Jeremiah Gertler of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. But it also signals a slow withdrawal from the Northeast, with four of the biggest base closings in Maine, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Clearly, the threat has changed, meaning that America no longer needs a sub base as close to Russia as possible. Moreover, the spread of Northeastern cities has boosted land prices and contracted open space for training.
Like I said above, land prices are lower.
Mr. Pate says the Pentagon even paid attention to issues going on in the community. "They looked at schools issues, how students are received," he says. To him, the military is going where it is wanted and valued most. But the news has not been all good for the South. Even within states set to enjoy significant increases in military jobs, bad news has been mixed with the good. For instance, while North Carolina's Fort Bragg is set to receive 4,300 jobs, Pope Air Force Base could lose nearly the same amount. Similarly, massive increases in Texas and Georgia have been somewhat offset by major closures.

James Joyner blogged This is largely a case of the rich getting richer. That is, the South was already the place where most of the largest Army bases were located, for the reasons cited. Most of the bases in the Northeast and West Coast were smallish outposts that not only lacked the ability to absorb more resources but are in areas where it is expensive to recruit and retain a workforce. Indeed, the same thing killed Atlanta's Fort McPherson--a perfectly good base but one that had become surrounded by Atlanta's urban sprawl. Granted, Texas is nearly as big as Western Europe and Virginia is bigger than most countries and its total is buttressed by the assets, including the Pentagon, in the D.C. suburbs. Still, rather amazing. Largely, it's a function of the sheer size of the U.S. military whose annual budget is nearly that of the rest of the planet combined.

Steve M. blogged Projected employment impact in the eleven states of the Confederacy as a result of the Bush adminsitration's military base realignment list: 19405 net jobs gained. Projected employment impact in the rest of the United States as a result of the Bush adminsitration's military base realignment list: 32089 net jobs lost. Remind me again: Who won the Civil War?

The south. Didn't you get the memo?

Orrin Judd blogged Funny to think that either Virginia or Texas by itself is probably the second greatest military power in the world.

Raoul Ortega commented You mean in the same wayt that North Dakota used to be the world's third largest nuclear power?

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