BRAC | Base Realignment and Closure

Lawmaker fights to stop wind farms

August 25, 2018

 
Wind farm. Allies for Cherry Point's Tomorrow.

From Lauren Ohnesorge of Triangle Business Journal:

NC Senator Harry Brown, representing Jones and Onslow Counties, believes wind turbines can have an adverse effect on the state’s military bases.

Bulldozers through cornfields, cranes erecting 5-story metal cylinders and turbine blades the length of tanker trucks: It’s the fear of Sen. Harry Brown (R-Jones, Onslow) and a handful of others who worked for years to get the wind martorium – which expires December 31 – in place.

Asked to articulate his fears, Brown says they surround BRAC – Base Realignment and Consolidation. The military is streamlining, he says, and looking for “reasons” to consolidate. A turbine impacting a training flight path could give them one, hence his support of a moratorium to study the issue.

But the military, at least publicly, has said the existing process – which requires a green light from the Department of Defense – is enough.

Right now, there’s just one utility-scale wind farm spinning in the state. The 104-turbine project, developed by Avangrid, spins near Elizabeth City, creating power for Amazon.

Drew Ball, director of the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center, says North Carolina should be scrambling to get more. Ball says other developers are interested, but are stymied by the moratorium.

But, Brown says, “If you live in North Carolina, it’s agriculture and military – that’s our economy. If you don’t protect those two things, well I don’t know what eastern North Carolina will look like.”

Brown says retired generals and other officers, many of whom he claims have reached out in private, fear turbines would devalue bases. He declines to name names.

“They, for a while, had pretty much a gag order – I hate to say it that way, but it’s the truth – to say anything negative about alternative energy,” he says.

One many who denies that characterization is retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, former assistant secretary for energy, installations and the environment with the US Navy.

“We have an open, transparent, objective process that is tried and true,” he says. “I told this to the senators that I met last month in Raleigh. …It isn’t zero sum. It isn’t military bases or wind farms.”

Retired Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, also denies there’s any kind of gag order.

Castellaw says, “We need alternative energy as an element of our national security. …It’s not just about somebody trying to make money. What it’s about also is contributing to the energy portfolio of America and to the security that the energy portfolio provides.”

 

NC General Assembly takes action in support of MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East

July 10, 2017

 

Raleigh, NC: The North Carolina General Assembly recently adjourned its regular legislative session for 2017 and among its accomplishments were several items of particular benefit to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East. Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) made these issues key priorities in its state legislative advocacy. ACT commends the Senate, House and Governor for supporting these important initiatives. The MCAS Cherry Point region’s delegation of Senators Harry Brown and Norman Sanderson, as well as Representatives John Bell, George Graham, Pat McElraft and Michael Speciale were especially instrumental in working to support ACT’s priorities.

Of special importance is a state appropriation in the amount of $3 million to build additional facilities to supplement the Lift Fan Maintenance and Testing Facility planned for FRC East. These facilities will improve the industrial base required for the Lift Fan testing component for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. This benefits both FRC East and the region because it brings more high-wage jobs and anchors FRC East as a primary repair facility for the F-35. The Lift Fan testing facility will be built with a $15.671 million federal military construction (MilCon) appropriation. “The state appropriation in support of this critical FRC East program is important for two reasons,” says ACT President Will Lewis. “This funding is the first time the state of North Carolina has ever made an investment in a federal military installation. It is both a real and symbolic show of support for our North Carolina military bases in anticipation of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.” Lewis adds that the investment also expands the capability of FRC East to support the F-35B variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. “MCAS Cherry Point will eventually be home to more F-35B’s than any air station in the world and FRC East is the designated depot for F-35B maintenance and repair,” Lewis says.

The legislature included two other state appropriations of direct benefit to Cherry Point in the final state budget. $1.2 million is allocated for purchase of land in proximity to Bogue Field in Carteret County. This will help mitigate encroachment on Outlying Field Bogue where Cherry Point aviators train. Also, $1 million has been appropriated to help clean-up a brownfield site in Havelock adjacent to the air station and near a military family neighborhood. These funds will assist Havelock in cleaning up the site and removing a potential danger to neighbors.

ACT Government Affairs Director Jamie Norment also points to a policy provision enacted late in the legislative session that will help North Carolina better understand the impact of wind turbines on military training. “The Assembly has imposed an 18-month moratorium on any new wind farms in North Carolina. During this time the state can determine definitively where wind farms can be safely sited and those places where they should be prohibited because they pose a hazard to military flight training,” says Norment. “ACT’s official position is that we do not oppose wind energy,” adds Norment, “but that we support clear and appropriate siting requirements that fully take into account the needs and concerns of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps that use eastern North Carolina airspace for critical training.”

ACT maintains a constant presence in Raleigh to ensure that state policy supports Cherry Point, Marine Corps aviation and FRC East. The North Carolina effort is part of a broader government affairs presence that ACT maintains in Washington, DC with the Congress and the Department of Defense. “ACT believes that a strong advocacy effort with our federal and state policy makers is absolutely crucial to sustaining and growing Cherry Point,” says ACT President Will Lewis. “We are proud of our accomplishments this legislative session and look forward to continuing to work with our General Assembly members and state agencies, including the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission.”

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SMITH CONSIDERING NEW DATE FOR PROPOSED BRAC ROUND

March 09, 2017

 

Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, is planning to push back the date of a proposed BRAC round until 2021 or later in legislation he introduced last month. That measure — which would reform the existing BRAC process to increase congressional oversight, emphasize savings, control cost growth, strengthen the independent commission and expedite the implementation of the recommendations — called for the next round of base closures to be held in 2019. The change is intended to give the Pentagon more time to assess its infrastructure needs in light of President Trump’s plan to boost military force structure as well as provide lawmakers cover by scheduling the round to take place after the next presidential election, reported Politico.

A BRAC would fit into the Trump administration’s intention to eliminate wasteful spending and trim the size of the federal workforce, but a DOD spokesman declined to comment on the possibility of holding a new round. It’s possible the administration could request approval for BRAC in its fiscal 2018 budget request.

 

ACT Plays Critical Role in Base Longevity

October 07, 2015

 

ACT PLAYS CRITICAL ROLE IN BASE LONGEVITY

Each year, our base faces the threats of Congressional budget cuts, military manpower and mission reductions and even a potential BRAC, which would hinder future growth in our area. ACT plays an integral part in making sure that MCAS Cherry Point is in the forefront of key military supporters not only on a local level, but in Raleigh and Washington, DC. When budgets are cut and bases are closed, we do not want MCAS Cherry Point to be on those lists. Since 2008, we have helped secure over $200 million in governmental funding to build/acquire the following facilities/upgrades:
– Bldg 245 Utility Upgrades for F-35
– H-1 Helicopter Gearbox Repair & Test Facility
– Missile and Ordinance Magazines
– Station Infrastructure Upgrades
– Mariners Bay Land Acquisition
– EMS / Fire Vehicle Facility
– 2nd MAW Command Operations Facility
– Hangar Renovation for F/A 18 E/F

Planned projects that we will continue to monitor include the following:
– Airfield Security Enhancements
– F-35 Vertical Lift Fan Repair & test Facility
– Engineering and Logistics Center
– F-35 Maintenance Hangar, Phase 1
– Adv. Manufacturing & Composites Center
– B.245 Paint Booth Renovation & Expansion
– Building 137 Service Life Recapitalization
– Building 4225 Plating Shop Upgrade

The above projects will cost approximately $325 million over the next six years and will ensure MCAS Cherry Point is prepared to transition from Harrier squadrons to the new F-35B squadrons in 2022. By 2031, MCAS Cherry Point will become home to six operational F-35 squadrons, with a seventh reserve squadron expected by 2033.

Provided budget cuts are manageable and we do not incur any BRACS between now and then, MCAS Cherry Point will have the largest number of F-35B aircraft on the East Coast. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighters have been touted as the most advanced weapons system of the modern era, combining the best of the best in stealth, speed, agility and technology.

 

Allies make pitch for base, FRC

May 22, 2015

 
ACT Makes pitch for FRC-East. Allies for Cherry Point't Tomorrow.

Mike Shutak, Carteret News-Times

MOREHEAD CITY — Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center East provide billions in economic impact and thousands of jobs, and Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow wants to make sure it continues to do so.

ACT, a grassroots advocacy group that supports Cherry Point and FRC, gave a public presentation on their organization and the base Thursday at the train depot. About 26 people, many of them officials from local towns and Carteret County government, came to hear about the role Cherry Point plays in the local economy and how ACT is working to ensure it keeps operating.

 

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