Military Base Closures Could Hit Economy

FEB. 28, 2012


California’s economy is in the tank. That is old news. While there doesn’t seem to be relief on the horizon, there is now talk about military base closures. And as with any large employer planning on leaving the state or closing, the economic impacts to the state could be devastating.

When a military base closes, the ripple effect throughout areas can be negative, as homes are left vacant, businesses feel the impact and lose customers, and employees lose jobs.

However, some business analysts say that in an economically thriving region, a base closure “can be an adrenalin shot to the local economy as hundreds of acres of land are suddenly made available for municipal growth and expansion,” a 2010 Daily Finance story reported. But for rural and suburban areas, “closure can translate into years of struggle, as municipal planners strain to fill the awkward, expansive vacant space that the military leaves behind.”

Through the Federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission, U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently announced plans to ask Congress to approve two rounds of military base closures, starting in 2013 and with a second round in 2015.

Concerned about this threat, Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 19, to encourage the California congressional delegation to help keep California’s military bases open as the U.S. Department of Defense goes forward with the base closures.

Strickland also is running for the U.S. Congress in the 26th Congressional District.

“With Port Hueneme and Point Mugu proving to be an invaluable asset to the local community, I plan to fight to keep these bases open,” Strickland said in a news release. “Ventura County military bases are a great economic impact to our local economy — providing almost 19,000 much-needed jobs — as well as helping to ensure our national security.”

Largest Employer

According to a study by the Naval Base Ventura County, and the Workforce Investment Board of Ventura County, the Naval Bases in Ventura County have been the largest employer in the county. “When Department of Defense jobs are included, the base supports about 4.6 percent of all jobs in Ventura County,” the report found.

The report is from 2006, but Strickland’s office explained the current numbers, according to the Navy, are similar. “In 2006, the base produced more than an estimated $1.2 billion in goods and services that flowed into the county and other regions of the U.S. and the world. Of that total, almost $950 million in spending was retained locally. This spending supported about 8,216 jobs in the region, with the estimated labor income associated with these job $377 million.”

In a summary of naval base estimated economic impacts to just the Ventura County Economy:

* Total Value of Goods & Services is $1,225.9 million;
* Output Retained in Ventura County $949.3 million;
* Labor Income $377.7 million;
* State & Local Tax Receipts $69.2 million;
* Aid to Schools$1 million;
* Jobs 8,216.

Task Force

Strickland sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to authorize the creation of an unpaid, volunteer task force for the strategic purpose of preserving California’s military bases. Similar task forces had been authorized — one in 1993 by Gov. Pete Wilson and another in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, these task forces have since expired.

According to the naval base, there are more than 19,000 military and civilian employees who are stationed or work for the base.

The base covers more than 6,000 acres in Ventura County.

Port Hueneme features a deepwater port and 16 miles of rail line.

Point Mugu can accommodate the largest military aircraft.

The 13,370-acre San Nicolas Island, and the 36,000 square mile Sea Test Range, are also part of the base.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Ventura County has 823,318 residents. Adding nearly 20,000 out-of-work people to the already 9.4 percent unemployment rate in Ventura County would be devastating to the county.

“Military bases across the state benefit all the people of California, so we need to send a message to Congress to let them know just how important California’s military bases are,” Strickland added. “It’s my hope that Congress does not move forward with President Obama’s proposal to cut funding for national security.”

For more information, here are two different perspectives on base closures:

Military Base Closure and The Towns They Leave Behind.

The Impact of Political Factors on Military Base Closures.


Write a comment
  1. John G.
    John G. 28 February, 2012, 10:13

    Close Hueneme, now! The jerks there fly the chemtrail tankers that poison our skies.

    Please do slash military spending and reduce the borrowing that we do to keep the military industrial complex alive and healthy for the fat cats, at great cost to taxpayers.

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 28 February, 2012, 10:42

    I agree with John G ^^^^^ 100%.

    We need to cut military spending, there is no reason we are spending more money than every other nation on earth combined.

    Reply this comment
  3. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 28 February, 2012, 10:59

    It’s sad that we’ve turned into a war-based economy. In 2013 the taxpayers will spend $620B on the war machine. What have we gained from being in Iraq and Afghanistan? Thousands of young American boys are dead, tens of thousands maimed and disabled, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are dead. We are viewed as the world’s bully by most of our global neighbors.

    Deficit spending is killing the country. We can’t afford $trillion$ dollar deficits any longer. Since the military represents a significant percentage of our federal budget it must be cut. If Ventura County can’t survive without leeching off the killing machine – tough crap. Grow up. Figure out another way to make your economy grow besides leeching off the taxpayer.

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 28 February, 2012, 16:51

    If Ventura County can’t survive without leeching off the killing machine – tough crap. Grow up. Figure out another way to make your economy grow besides leeching off the taxpayer.

    Amen Beels!

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 29 February, 2012, 09:05

    Our housing market is still so upside down that I have a strong feeling we may not come out of this depression until 2017-2020. That is a LONG way off, especially since we have been here for 4-5 years already.

    Reply this comment
  6. Pete in SD
    Pete in SD 29 February, 2012, 16:40

    The Article assumes that “free land and facilities” will fall into the lap of any community suffering a closure. This is a false assumption. BRAC law was changed whereby all land and facilities that are found to be in excess must first be offered to other government agencies for use and if not taken are to be “sold at market price by the Department of Defense”. No more giveaways. In addition, it appears there are those in the region who are totally uninformed regarding the military’s share of the national treasure. The defense budget is presently at its lowest fraction of GDP in the history of the Nation, even lower than in the Great Depression. Defense is merely a small fraction of the cost of the Federal Government’s operations, while defense is (per the constitution) the the first and foremost responsibility of our government. Go back to school people! That is, if you can actually find one that teaches the Constitution.

    Reply this comment
  7. SELPilot
    SELPilot 29 February, 2012, 17:00

    Uh, John G., nobody flies into Hueneme. The Port of Hueneme is where the ships are. It’s full of water. No airplanes. Get it?

    Reply this comment
  8. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 1 March, 2012, 00:34

    Pete in SD: Actually, a new Cato study shows that defense spending is nearly as high as it was during Reagan’s buildup at the height of the Cold War in the arly 1980s. You’d have to expect that as we have troops in 130 countries now.

    Cato study:

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  9. Rider
    Rider 8 March, 2012, 18:13

    The cost to move operation from Port Hueneme, Point Mugu and the other areas mentioned, plus toxic and munitions cleanup will cost more than it would save and take 20 years to clean up. The economic impact on the local economy at the PRESENT TIME would create a snow ball effect leading to very large scale depression in the area. DOD would be better served to continue the operations there and close overseas bases.

    Reply this comment
  10. Edward Rasen
    Edward Rasen 5 May, 2012, 13:07

    Civilian employees at military bases are simply taxpayer-subsidized workers. I remember when Long Beach Naval Station was touted as essential to economy of Long Beach. In reality, Long Beach has thrived and grown without the U.S. Navy. But, Mugu and Hueneme are small fish compared to the U.S. military bases in England, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Okinawa, Japan and Afghanistan. Why do we still have USAF bases in England? Why do we still have heavy armour brigades in Germany. I guess the Russians are coming.

    Reply this comment
  11. Mac
    Mac 24 November, 2014, 08:50

    I always hear this idiocy from the left who want the money spent on their projects. Interesting that the military creates the peaceful environment in this country so that they can pursue their socialist agenda. As far as planes flying into port hueneme I would like say that the author of that statement has obviously never been on the base. It’s a seabee base with a deep water port that is necessary should a war ever happen with China. But of course the socialists love China so maybe by closing the base would help their agenda. We’ve been through this before when we disarmed after ww1 and guess what, we got ww2. Then after ww2 we disarmed again guess what? Korean War. Read on through history and you see the idiocy of not being prepared. Being weak in this world is incredibly stupid especially after the history just mentioned. Oh just to have full disclosure, I am a college professor AND an ex navy seabee, and NOT a socialist.

    Reply this comment
  12. Close_Port_Hueneme
    Close_Port_Hueneme 4 August, 2016, 02:50

    Close this base. It brings in too many none locals that are jerks. Brings in many many people who are not from California and treat the local population like trash. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen Navy guys calling the locals here beaners. Many of them don’t even like California. They hid on the base and don’t interact with the surround community. Now that I have seen how they act, I’m 100% for closing this base and shipping all these Military families out of here. The port should be left to the the private sector where jobs would increase dramatically. At 1st there would be down turn in the Job market from the DOD leaving, put in the long run the local area would be better off. This base is hindrance to the local economy which is really just a welfare handout form the Federal Government. Additionally it adds an 25 minute drive time for the locals to cross their own city. With the port going back into Civilian hands, Ventura and Oxnard would thrive. Deep Water harbor between LA and SF, it would create more competition and bring more jobs to the area. Every deep water harbor on the West Coast is a major city. Lets list them, San Diego, LA, SF, Portland, Seattle, and even in Canada we have Vancouver. Locals know, Oxnard needs a lot of jobs. So many people have to commute up The 101 for work. BOOOO ASSHOLE NAVY BOOOO Get the fuck out.

    Reply this comment
  13. Siman
    Siman 2 January, 2017, 16:28

    The biggest thing you need to see is that money is going somewhere, and its not the defense budget. It hasn’t been for a long time. We are at the lowest % of our GDP spent on the military since we went to war with terrorism… The problem is the assets the united states needs to protect that growing GDP is shrinking. If you also look at it in that retrospect this has been the cheapest impact of going to war that the united states has ever had. Anyway if we want to look at reality, the biggest cost is going to medicare and social security…

    Reply this comment

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