The California Senate passed two resolutions Thursday aimed at protecting the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base from closure.
Sen. Tom Harman’s (R-Huntington Beach) resolutions urging Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Congress to preserve the bases unanimously passed the Senate. Harman has been campaigning to make sure the two bases aren’t on the list of cuts in the Department of Defense’s upcoming Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) process.
“Losing either of these two bases would severely cripple our ability to respond to threats and actions taken by people that wish to harm Californians and all Americans. I’m pleased to see my colleagues unified in their support of California military bases and the overwhelming benefits they bring to our great state,” Harman said in a written release.
“These bases are essential to our nation’s security,” he added. “The Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach is the primary military operation that services and supplies the entire Pacific Fleet based in San Diego and the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base is the sole remaining military airfield in greater Los Angeles and Orange County area. These bases also play a big role in our local, regional and state economies.”
Each resolution passed by the senate outlines the military roles and economic benefits of the bases.
The Naval Weapons Station
According to the first ordinance, the Naval Weapons Station might be under consideration for closure in the 2013 or 2015 closure periods. The base provides 600 civilians with work and retains 200 servicemen and servicewomen at all times. According to the resolution, “The impact of those 800 men and women on the local, regional, and state economies is immeasurable.”
A recent economic report issued by the base details annual economic benefits to the community including over $91 million in industrial output, $38 million in direct payroll expenditures, and nearly $6 million in local and state tax revenues.
The resolution also outlines the base’s environmental benefits as the home to the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, a 920-acre salt marsh that provides essential habitats for three endangered species such as the light-footed clapper rail, the California least tern, and the Belding’s Savanna sparrow.
According to the resolution, “The impact of the closure of the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach goes beyond the employment of the base personnel, impacting small local businesses, schools, sales and property tax bases of the local community, the environment, the hospitality industry, the housing market, and the local, regional, and state economies.”
The Joint Forces Training Base
The second resolution identifies the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base as another potential target for closure. The Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base includes the Alamitos Army Airfield, the largest Army airfield operated by the National Guard in the country, according to the resolution.
It employs 700 civilians, military personnel and contractors and 3,000 people in the reserve units.
“The Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base is the disaster support area for southern California, a homeland security assembly platform and emergency preparedness site and.. is home to the sole remaining military airfield in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County area,” the resolution reads.