Alliance on guard against more BRAC - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Alliance on guard against more BRAC

October 12, 2005

Dougherty County-- Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base is safe from closure by this year's Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

But Southwest Georgia communities say there could be another round of closures in the next five years. And leaders say they want their organization designed to fight for the base to stay active.

Work continues around the clock at the Albany Marine Base, safe from this round of BRAC closures. But already, talk of another BRAC session has started.

Albany Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs expert Jim Taylor said, "Everyone in the defense analysis business recognizes that we have excess capacity, and we just can't afford it."

With an annual payroll of more than $217 million, and 3,500 employees, the Marine Corps Logistics Base is one of Southwest Georgia's largest employers. The Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress was set up to protect that base from closure, and several community leaders say their work needs to continue.

Colquitt County Chamber Military Affairs Expert William Harrison said "It's need to be an ongoing process that doesn't pop up right before a BRAC and go away right after a BRAC."

Congress commissioned BRACs in 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, and then 2005. This year's closures left all Logistic Depots like Albany's open, and that could make the Depots a target in the next round.

Taylor said "It's likely there will be some major cuts in future rounds. Whether we will be one of them, I don't know."

The Southwest Georgia Alliance for Progress reports they will continue to push for better roads and infrastructure for the Marine Base, as well as community improvements in educational, medical, and housing availability.

All factors the BRAC commission considers when members decide which military bases are needed, and which will be shut down. President Bush accepted the BRAC Commission's recommendations September 15th, and sent them on to Congress.

Now Congress has until November First to accept the list, or vote it down and start over completely.

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