Air Force continues support to communities affected by BRAC

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Across the nation, communities are being reshaped by the military's transformation due to Base Realignment and Closure changes. At a conference for these communities, mayors, engineers, construction companies and others met to discuss the best way for their neighborhoods faced with base closure or realignment to move forward.

In support of these communities, and to address their questions and concerns, senior representatives from the Air Force attended the Association of Defense Communities Winter Forum Feb. 4 through 6 in Newport Beach, Calif. 

Fred Kuhn, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations; Kathryn Halvorson, the director of the Air Force Real Property Agency; and Col. James Holland, the director of the Air Force BRAC Program Management Office presented the Air Force position on many BRAC-related issues at the conference.

During the conference, more than 600 civilian and military representatives attended presentations on enhanced-use leasing, housing privatization, base redevelopment, service BRAC updates, and encroachment.

"Any opportunity to meet and interact with community members and their representatives affected by BRAC is an opportunity to build trust, understanding and appreciation between the community, the Air Force and the Department of Defense, ensuring a smoother transition during this DOD transformation," Mr. Kuhn said. "It is imperative to all involved that this process be completely transparent and involve a joint Air Force and community supported effort to ensure it is a win-win for our Air Force and the communities impacted."

Many conference attendees met one-on-one with the Air Force leadership to discuss a variety of topics, including gaining or losing military missions, infrastructure changes, and potential enhanced-use leasing opportunities.

"The overwhelming interest from communities and the private sector indicates that making and maintaining partnerships is a high priority for everyone," Ms. Halvorson said. "We held 20 small group meetings in addition to the regular conference sessions. These gave us a chance to meet with communities and establish our mutual interests in forging win-win deals. The event was a huge success."

During the conference, Mr. Kuhn, Ms. Halvorson, and Colonel Holland conducted several presentations including innovative approaches to transfer excess property and realign and modernize Air Force active installations, privatizing base housing and enhanced-use leasing opportunities, and an overview about the Air Force and the impact of base realignment and closure decisions from BRAC Rounds 1 through 4, and BRAC 2005.

"In order for BRAC to be successful it is important that all the players, to include the Air Force, community members and leaders, and business representatives, confront and discuss what sometimes can seem overwhelming challenges," Colonel Holland said. "We fully appreciate that the implementation of BRAC actions can be a difficult transition for affected military and civilian personnel, their families, and communities and businesses near affected bases. We will do everything we can to make that transition as smooth as possible."

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