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Military Base Closures: Socioeconomic Impacts

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Publication Date: September 2008

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22147

Topic: Military and defense (Military bases and buildings)


The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission submitted its final report to the Administration on September 8, 2005. The President concurred with the Commission report and forwarded it to Congress on September 15, 2005. The report lists the military installations that the BRAC Commission approved for closing or realigning and their reasons for either supporting or rejecting the Department of Defense's original list of recommended closures and realignments. The Commission rejected 13 of the Department's recommendations, significantly modified the recommendations for 13 other installations, and approved 22 major closures. The loss of related jobs, and efforts to replace them and implement a viable base reuse plan, can pose significant challenges for affected communities. While base closures and realignments often create socioeconomic distress in communities initially, research has shown that they generally have not had the dire effects that many communities expected. For rural areas, however, the impacts can be greater and the economic recovery slower. Drawing from existing studies, this report assesses the potential community impacts and proposals for minimizing those impacts.