Over the last 50 years, the Office of Economic Adjustment has evolved to assist local and state governments as they partner with the Military Departments, local citizens, and other Federal agencies to develop base redevelopment plans and community economic adjustment strategies. These plans detail the immediate needs of workers, businesses and the broader community; map a long-term path forward for economic recovery; and, catalyze follow-on investments from the private sector and other public agencies.
Since 1988, the Department of Defense has used the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process to reorganize its installation infrastructure to more efficiently and effectively support its force structure, increase operational readiness, and facilitate new ways of doing business.
When a base is closed or realigned, the Office of Economic Adjustment assigns a project manager to work with the impacted communities to help them organize and coalesce around a single local redevelopment authority that can speak with one voice on behalf of the community. The local redevelopment authority serves as a community forum for discussing issues and concerns, and a single point of contact for local, state and Federal agencies. Depending on the number of impacted jurisdictions and others factors, a state entity may request to be the local redevelopment authority and lead a locally based response and redevelopment effort.
Experience has shown that communities facing BRAC are most successful when they organize around a single entity to respond to the BRAC action and tackle issues such as job creation, base redevelopment, and other economic development strategies.
Once officially recognized by the Office of Economic Adjustment, the local redevelopment authority solicits input from a broad range of stakeholders, including homeless assistance providers, to prepare and submit a base redevelopment plan and a homeless assistance application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. By law, the redevelopment plan must reflect a balance of homeless accommodation with local community and economic development goals. The Office of Economic Adjustment assistance enables states and communities to comply with the requirements of the BRAC statute.
If the base has been a significant employer in the region, the local redevelopment authority will concurrently develop a community adjustment strategy for displaced workers and businesses. A project manager from the Office of Economic Adjustment works with grantees throughout this multiyear process and into the implementation stage, providing guidance on other Federal programs and sharing best practices from other communities.
Technical and financial assistance from the Office of Economic Adjustment enables states and communities to receive property as soon as it is available from the Military Departments. Communities may use grant funds from the Office of Economic Adjustment to support existing staff, or hire experts to advise local leaders through the complex issues that underpin property disposal, redevelopment, and post-closure adjustment/stabilization, including workforce, business, and other community recovery. Considerable effort is often required to understand the environmental condition of the property and any future land use restrictions. If the community wants to have a direct role in carrying out the redevelopment plan, Office of Economic Adjustment support is available to establish an implementation local redevelopment authority, and prepare the pro forma and other materials included in an Economic Development Conveyance application. At each step of the planning process, Office of Economic Adjustment resources help communities make decisions and negotiate with the Military Departments on an informed basis.
Additionally, the Office of Economic Adjustment coordinates the Economic Adjustment Committee. The Committee brings together 22 key Federal agencies to discuss issues faced by BRAC-impacted communities and coordinate available resources.
Communities across the country have successfully found new life for closed military bases. Hundreds of thousands of new jobs have resulted from their efforts, which not only help mitigate the impact of the base closure or realignment on the local level, but contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of the region. Former bases have been reabsorbed into local communities as new neighborhoods, education facilities, airports, parks, and businesses creating new opportunities to shape stronger, more resilient regions.
As the Military Departments prioritize resources to carry out the National Defense Strategy, they occasionally need to reduce the number of personnel, or disestablish missions outside of the congressionally-authorized Base Realignment and Closure process. Upon the announcement of a significant force reduction, an Office of Economic Adjustment project manager meets with the community to hear their concerns and encourage them to organize a single, coordinated response that can represent the needs of workers, businesses, and other community equities.
Communities may request assistance to understand how the proposed action will impact the regional economy, housing markets, school enrollment, impact aid and spousal employment among other factors. They may also request operational support to conduct outreach and offer guidance to dislocated workers and affected businesses. Community leaders have used this information to target services to impacted workers and small businesses, prevent local housing markets from over-reacting, and develop long-term economic diversification and workforce strategies. These efforts help to minimize the economic distress on their communities, and identify new opportunities. The organizing and planning supported by the Office of Economic Adjustment has led communities to apply for workforce retraining assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, business service assistance from the Small Business Administration, and redevelopment support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and USDA Rural Development.
Five independent BRAC commissions have recommended closing 451 installations since 1988, including 23 during the 2005 round of BRAC.
Office of Economic Adjustment technical and financial assistance is tailored to the needs of the Department of Defense and the impacted communities. Today, the Office continues to help communities affected by BRAC address issues such as land use planning in response to unanticipated environmental contamination, and the availability of new parcels of land for redevelopment.
OEA may assist state and local governments in planning and carrying out community adjustments and economic diversification in response to the proposed or actual realignment, or closure of a military installation that is likely to have a direct and significantly adverse consequence on the affected community.
The relevant Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance listings are:
See Terms and Conditions for more information.
For more information about the Office of Economic Adjustment and the Downsizing program of assistance, please contact:
Elizabeth "Liz" Chimienti
Deputy Program Director, BRAC & Downsizing