05/09/05 — Bracing for BRAC: Panel soon to reveal stance on air base’s future

View Archive

Bracing for BRAC: Panel soon to reveal stance on air base’s future

This is the week. At least, that’s what everyone says.

Although there are several different dates prophesied, the Base Realignment and Closure committee is set to announce this week its recommendations for maintaining, eliminating or changing military bases.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base might be on any of the three lists. We won’t know until we actually see the names.

Most people are predicting the North Carolina bases are safe, so this week is just as likely to bring good news as it is bad.

But if Seymour Johnson gets bad news, there is still time to try to turn that decision around, but it is not going to happen overnight or in a vacuum of silence. Loud and strong support for the base is the best defense against a closure.

And a little bit of pressure on a few legislative leaders and their Washington colleagues wouldn’t hurt either.

But that is getting ahead of ourselves.

Being prepared for either answer is the key this week. There is no need to panic yet. And even if the news is not good, the best way to handle it is to keep our heads and mobilize as a community to show Washington why this recommendation is one that should be ignored.

There are a lot of reasons to be confident about the base’s future. Seymour Johnson has earned national recognition for its programs and facilities, and the base’s relationship with the community is strong and healthy.

Seymour Johnson also measures up well against the criteria being used to determine which bases will be closed vs. those that will have their missions altered.

But for now, all we can do is wait, and hope that the announcement comes sooner rather than later. Once the committee’s findings are announced, we can then work together to celebrate the victory or to temper the setback.

Published in Editorials on May 9, 2005 12:17 PM