Monday, May 16, 2005

No plans for base to grow larger, for now- Travis employes 15,000 and contributes $1 billion annually

Dick Banks
Vice President
First American Title Company
fax 707-425-4672

May 14, 2005

No plans for base to grow larger, for now

By JASON MASSAD, The Reporter, Vacaville

The conventional wisdom surrounding the highly anticipated U.S. Department of Defense base closure plan was this: A facility either will be closed or it will grow larger.

Turns out, however, that neither scenario is planned for Travis Air Force Base.
The local base, which employs nearly 15,000 personnel and contributes more than $1 billion to the local economy, was not mentioned in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list issued Friday.

That's good news, considering the fearful prospect that the local base could have been targeted for closure, but there's a disappointing side to being ignored.
Travis Air Force Base is not scheduled to benefit from the 180 bases across the country, including 33 major facilities, that have been targeted on the initial list either for closure or realignment.

Local leaders were not at all prepared Friday to criticize, instead basking in the fact that Travis Air Force Base was safe from closure.

But the reality that so many pieces of the nation's military are moving around on the board could create an opportunity in the future, officials acknowledged.

The tricky part, however, is lobbying for more wealth at Travis Air Force Base while other communities face serious losses, they said.

"We don't want to lobby to take missions away from other bases,"said Kevin O'Rourke, Fairfield city manager and executive director of the Travis Community Consortium. "We don't want to have Travis gain at someone else's loss."

When the U.S. Department of Defense broached plans for the current round of base closures, federal leaders called for up to 25 percent of the nation's military capacity to be shuttered.
However, of the some 320 major bases across the nation, only 33 - or about 10 percent - now are targeted for closure. The more minimal BRAC will create less need for large bases like Travis Air Force Base to accept the leavings of others, said Supervisor Mike Reagan.
"We didn't see the gains I had expected, at least not yet," Reagan said.

Reagan, a former lieutenant colonel at Travis, was reading through a voluminous BRAC narrative Friday to begin his look into what bases could be closed, which are scheduled to be realigned, where the missions could be headed and, most importantly, why.
For example, San Diego's medical center is downsizing by 1,600 people, which could create opportunities for the David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, he said. Other opportunities also could exist.

But that's for later. For now, Travis advocates will settle for the silence.
"No news is good news," Reagan said. "There is good news at Travis and good news at Beale."
- Jason Massad can be reached at

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