A discussion is ongoing to initiate a federal study that could result in the closure of various military locations and bases as part of cost-cutting initiatives.
Nellis Air Force Base is one of four military installations in Nevada. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, of the Department of Defense, last convened 17 years ago.
Nellis could be in the crosshairs. Nellis, according to Col. Joshua DeMotts, is essential to the military.
In the 16 months, I’ve been here, DeMotts remarked, “I’ve only had conversations about how we can add to Nellis, not take anything away.”
Nellis Air Force Base benefited by adding 1,400 military and civilian personnel during the most recent BRAC assessment in 2005.
Using the economic impact on their areas as justification, lawmakers petition BRAC to prevent bases in their districts from closing.
The leadership at Nellis, according to Col. DeMotts, is not preparing for a BRAC review.
Nevertheless, a significant politician and the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Democrat Betty McCollum, publicly backed a BRAC review in May.
McCollum, (D) Minnesota, remarked during a committee meeting that the “[Department of Defense] has stated in recent years that it has nearly 20 percent extra infrastructure, and we pay to have that infrastructure maintained.”
Since 1988, there have been five BRACs, with the 2005 BRAC being the most recent and costliest.
It resulted in the closure of 24 significant bases, the realignment of 24 sites, and the loss of 12,000 civilian jobs.
As Nellis goes, so goes the Air Force, is what we like to say for the combat air forces, DeMotts remarked.
The DoD has not yet indicated whether it intends to approach Congress for permission to conduct a BRAC review.
The commission rejected the agency’s 2005 recommendation to close the Hawthorne Army Depot in western Nevada.