NORFOLK, Va. — Could "BRAC" be making a comeback?
Hampton Roads got hit hard by the Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005 when the panel closed the Army's Fort Monroe. It tried to realign Naval Air Station Oceana, and send its fighter jets to Florida.
That would have been an economic financial disaster for Hampton Roads, with Oceana estimated to have a total of 25,000 personnel, family members and civil servants, with an economic impact of $1.3 billion.
Congress, in its current defense budget signed by President Trump, has expressly prohibited BRAC.
However, Old Dominion University's top economics professors, this week in their State of the Region report, said it is a certainty that there will be another round of BRAC some day.
"There's going to be another BRAC round, we just don't know when," said ODU economics professor Bob McNab.
Fellow ODU economics professor Vinod Agarwal said the Hampton Roads region should be competing now more than ever to bring more ships and military activity to the region.
"If the day comes that Congress approves another round of BRAC, we will have done everything possible to prepare the installations, and have them be in the best possible shape," said Retired Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, who is executive director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance.
He said the region has already done much to protect its military interests from BRAC.
"The public school system, the surface transportation system, collaborative efforts to mitigate sea level rise," he said. "There are more efforts going on that I can point to, to make sure that we show that we value these installations, and they are a part of who we are as Hampton Roads."
Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) noted how important the military is to his state. In a statement to 13News Now he said: "While Congress successfully blocked a new round of BRAC in this year's defense bill, I will continue to remain vigilant on this issue."
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