Thinking ahead: Waiting not best plan when it comes to safeguarding base
Members of the North Carolina Advisory Commission on Military Affairs do not want North Carolina to wait until an announcement of another round of Base Realignment and Closure commission meetings to get to work on keeping the state’s base count intact.
But accomplishing that means more than simply buying billboard space declaring that North Carolina is “military friendly.”
Decisions on whether to close or to reduce forces at a base are made according to many criteria, but encroachment of development near the base in question as well as infrastructure are just two of the most important.
And along with the usual measures of infrastructure is one that is most important — and most within this community’s control, now.
Military officials want to make sure that their personnel are going to be happy in a community — and that they will find the schools and support systems they need as well as housing.
The better military personnel rate a community, the better the chance that the base within that community will still be around after the BRAC axe falls.
So, while there is much work to be done in other areas to let the military know their personnel and mission are welcome here — and there has been a lot done already in Wayne County to make sure that tradition continues — that doesn’t mean that any community should rest on its laurels.
Preparing now for future concerns about base closures — and working to make sure Wayne County meets the criteria necessary to keep Seymour Johnson Air Force Base growing — are critical steps to take.
And military personnel will not be the only ones who will benefit from a stronger Wayne County and North Carolina. Working to improve our schools and facilities, as well as continuing to keep the infrastructure in place to handle development and growth, will make this a place where Wayne County residents can comfortably and affordably raise families. And that is a positive for anyone with an investment in this community.
The work that will go into protecting this community’s base did not begin today and will not stop — even after the new tanker jets and engine repair facility are here. There will be continued work between local officials and base personnel to make sure the relationship continues to be a positive one on both sides.
And that is why Wayne County can look ahead to BRAC’s next round with confidence. We will be prepared.
Published in Editorials on January 19, 2007 11:25 AM