Los Alamitos needs to develop have a plan just in case the Joint Forces Training Base closes down in the next round of defense cuts, according to one city leader.
At a recent meeting, Councilman Richard Murphy said the city should discuss the possibility that the Department of Defense might shutter the local military installation.
"I would like to see the formation of a 'Base Closure Committee,'" Murphy said. “It’s amazing to me that we don’t have one."
Murphy has spoken about the idea before. Prior to taking office, he said he’d like the council to have a backup plan in case the “worst case scenario” occurred. He said that even if there’s only a one or two percent chance it might happen, he wants the city to exercise an “overabundance of caution” with a backup plan.
"If you follow the budget cuts in the military, I think there’s going to be more and more serious budget cuts under this administration," Murphy said. "We need to go through the exercise of preparing for that.”
A base closure can have a devastating effect on a local economy, as well as disrupt city operations.
The Department of Defense decides what bases to shut down through a process called Base Realignment and Closure. A decision about some of the nation’s bases was originally scheduled for 2013, however Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said there will be no base closures this year, according to Business Week.
At the same meeting that Murphy announced his proposal, Los Alamitos Councilman Dean Grose said he had recently met with base officials and said “it was clear that’s not something that they’re looking at."
Grose said any BRAC discussions would most likely take place a few years from now.
"If the feds do anything, 2016 would be the earliest," Grose said.
Grose also said that the military would be hard-pressed to explain why they just made multi-million dollar investment in building the Army Reserve Headquarters at the base if the installation were to be closed down.
What do you think? Even if it’s a small chance, should Los Alamitos prepare for a possible base closure?
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