WASHINGTON -- Department of Defense officials told state lieutenant governors Thursday to plan for possible base closures and cutbacks in civilian work forces as sequestration budget cuts begin affecting every state.
Frank DiGiovanni, the Defense Department training readiness and strategy director, told National Lieutenant Governors Association attendees that states need strategies to brace for military spending cuts, including base personnel and contractors. Military cuts also will affect spending by civilian and uniformed personnel at businesses near military bases in every state, no matter how big the military industry, he said.
“There is a lot to be done coordinating at the state level," DiGiovanni told the lieutenant governors. He cited Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) for assembling a group that helped prepare for potential military base cuts in the past, and for having a plan to lobby federal officials to protect military installations in his state.
DiGiovanni told the lieutenant governors they also should prepare for overseas military cuts, which will shift more activity to U.S. installations. With 200,000 military personnel returning from full time duty overseas, there will be more training at bases, he said. Those personel will contribute to the local economy, but they may spark increased complaints from base neighbors about noise and traffic.
At the same time, DiGiovanni did note that there has been a greater culture of the different military services working together with the budget cuts, including at bases around the country. He said that state leaders can continue to see that going forward.
“Sequestration and this whole fiscal environment is going to require the services to work together to accomplish the mission," he said. "The resources they’ve had won’t be there anymore.”
Kansas is a role model in protecting the military economy, said Patrick O'Brien, director of the Defense Department Office of Economic Adjustment,. O'Brien said lieutenant governors in the past have headed state planning groups to study the impact of military bases and industries on the state economy and how to have state government serve their needs.
The lieutenant governors association has long advocated the flexible nature of state lieutenant governors' offices as a way for the officials to be involved in a variety of areas of policy, including those impacting the military and economic development.