by Locker Room contributor
Before the election grabbed all the press attention, a lot was being made about the 2005 round of BRAC, the military’s process for closing excess bases. Well, the BRAC is only four months away, and the Nov. 22 issue of [i]Aviation Week & Space Technology[/i] has a bit about what to expect on the Air Force side:
? The Air Force will drastically reduce the number of fighter planes it has over the next decade (500 to 600 F-15s and F-16s to retire). National Guard and Reserve fighter units will be particularly hard hit. the USAF will be looking to close ANG/Reserve facilities that share runways with commercial air operations and move units to active-duty bases. ANG/Reserve fighter units will share planes with the active duty units they will be colocated with in the future.
(Note: the NCANG is based at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. It operates C-130 transport planes, not fighter jets. Still, this is something to keep an eye on, especially with an active-duty C-130 unit in Fayetteville.)
? “Bases that the Air Force will seek to develop are those that are relatively small and remote, but expandable with test and training ranges nearby, such as Mountain Home, Idaho; Ellsworth, S.D.; and Cannon AFB, N.M. Planners want to divest themselves of bases troubled by environmental concerns and encroachment. They will study projections of how bases will look in 50-60 years.”
? Expect more consolidation of depots, training centers and test facilities. AWST quotes an Air Force official as saying “?there is no more low-hanging fruit, so there will be some tough decisions to made next year.”
Bottom line: lots of Air Force base closing coming. When combined with the already expressed move toward interservicing, it would be shocking if one or more N.C. bases were not at least considered for closure.