Cuts like a Knife

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made news yesterday announcing plans to make cuts in the Department of Defense (DOD). Some may be saying his plans are more in line with a Friday the 13th slashing by Jason.

Of course, Gates says there are “no sacred cows” in his plan.

Two things stood out to me while listening to the briefing.

First, the Secretary wants to close or consolidate bases. He said:

I’ve also authorized each of the military departments to consider consolidation or closure of excess bases and other facilities where appropriate. This is obviously a politically fraught topic. Currently, Congress has placed legal constraints on DOD’s ability to close installations. But hard is not impossible, and I hope Congress will work with us to reduce unnecessary costs in this part of the defense enterprise.

This could spell bad news for smaller bases, especially those with one or two missions. Frankly, it will be easy for the military branches to identify bases to close or consolidate, but actually closing or consolidating them will be a big obstacle.

Being identified by the military branch as a base that should be closed or consolidated will leave a black mark on that base. At least it will let the community and its leaders know that their base may not be around forever as planned if the closure/consolidation plan makes it through Congress.

If you are a supporter of a base in your community, now would be the time to get all hands on deck and keep your “sacred cow” off the list. Continue reading