Preparing for Duty: State Policy Options to Sustain Military Installations
by Jennifer Schultz, NCSL, December, 2016
With Support from the U.S. Department of Defense
Roughly 1.3 million people currently serve in the U.S. armed forces, 22 million more are veterans and 420 military installations exist in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. U.S. military operations touch every state in some way, and state legislatures are playing an increasingly substantial role in military issues.
Military installations—which may also be referred to as bases, camps, posts, stations, yards or centers— are facilities that sustain the presence of U.S. forces at home and abroad. Installations located within the United States and its territories are used to train and deploy troops, maintain weapons systems and care for the wounded. Installations also support military service members and their families by providing housing, health care, child care and on-base education.
The Department of Defense (DoD) contributes billions of dollars each year to state economies through the operation of military installations. The impact of this spending is felt across the state, in salaries and benefits paid to military personnel and retirees, defense contracts and tax revenues.
Recent events such as the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, federal budget cuts and potential rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) have contributed to uncertainty over the future role and sustainability of military installations. State legislatures are critical in managing relations between the military and surrounding communities, especially in regard to issues related to military base or mission change, growing local development and incompatible land uses that may threaten the military’s ability to operate effectively.
This report—produced by NCSL with support from the DoD Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment)—highlights the impact of the military on state economies and provides state policy options to support military-community cooperation and address land use challenges that may arise as the buffer between military and civilian areas narrows. The strategies presented in the report are intended to help states secure the future of their military installations and ensure that communities continue to benefit from the jobs and business opportunities the military provides. Topics covered include:
• Military advisory bodies.
• Commanders councils.
• Funding and financing programs to enhance the value of military installations.
• Enhanced communication with the military on proposed land use changes.
• Compatible land use requirements.
• Protecting land around a military installation for agriculture or other purposes.
• Energy development compatibility with the military mission.
• Reducing light pollution.
• Limiting noise impacts from military activities.
• Real estate disclosure.
• Shared services agreements.
HAWAII (pg 15)
Hawaii is home to the U.S. Pacific Command, as well as the world’s largest multi-dimensional testing and training range. Over 67,000 military personnel live in Honolulu County alone, and the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce reported that military activities directly or indirectly generated over 102,000 jobs and $14.7 billion in economic impact in 2013.
NOTE: Hawaii had the second largest military spending as a percent of its GDP at 9.8 percent (pg 2)
On Oahu’s picturesque North Shore, the state of Hawaii helped the Army and several partners–including private resorts, land trusts and local government–come to an agreement that permanently protects productive farmland previously slated for residential development. This development would have seriously compromised the Army’s ability to fully utilize the Kahuku Training Area and several key flight paths. Using funds earmarked from the state real estate conveyance tax, Hawaii contributed $1.5 million towards the protection of this key parcel, which will remain in agricultural use in perpetuity.
At Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the state has furthered its commitment to encroachment mitigation through an agreement to manage protected agricultural lands for continued production. This agreement allowed the state to protect pineapple fields formerly owned by the Dole Food Company from development that would have impeded the Navy’s state-of-the-art satellite communications system. Now these fields will remain as working lands managed by the state’s Agribusiness Development Corporation.
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