The Magazine of Future Warfare
American citizens like to think of federal employees as "civil servants". Unfortunately, World War II created a massive military-industrial complex which has developed into a powerful communist bureaucracy. Thousands of "servants" believe taxpayers owe them a living because they "earned it" by volunteering for a job that pays more than the private sector. The 668,000 civilian Defense Department employees exceed the total number of active duty sailors and marines, and this does not include a larger number employed indirectly through contractors. Many are employed by the "fort system" which began when soldiers were posted on distant frontiers and the military was required to provide all services. Since this is no longer the case, a military base should consist of no more than training areas, airstrips, warehouses, and office space. However, the modern fort system rules the US military, as described by retired Army officer Mark Gallmeier:
"The biggest problem is the Communist approach to operating all Army and Air Force posts as self-contained provinces, each having its own provincial capital city called the 'cantonment' . This Mega Base system first established itself during the World War II mobilization and has persisted ever since. The local aristocracies that have grown up in these dukedoms is what drives base operations costs through the roof. It's so bad the typical army post budget barely noticed when its combat units deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990. This system is itself counter-productive to combat training. Unionized civil servants don't do 'base support'. Instead they generate endless base support taskings for the units who get nickeled and dimed to death in personnel.
This system has become an immensely profitable scam for any locality having a base. This is proved by the political difficulty in 'closing' any particular base. The political opposition does not arise from the troops, who have no political influence. It comes from all the locals feeding on the bases. This system also provides incredible ego fuel for the Commanding Generals and Senior Executive Service types when they are helicoptering across their feudal domains."
While many profit from local military bases, the overall community suffers since the base pays no property taxes, no income taxes, and allows sales tax free shopping for thousands of people who live off-base. Americans living near military bases are unaware that thousands of mostly tax-exempt people use their community parks, schools, colleges, roads, bridges, libraries, ambulances, landfills, and even jails. Airlines and other business operating from a major airport pay over $200 million a year in local property taxes. Would communities benefit if their Air Force base paid them $200 million a year, plus sales taxes?
As the 2005 base closure round approaches, base contractors and civil service unions have begun campaigns to fool taxpayers and military servicemen to protect "their" base. Many confused servicemen think that closing bases hurts our military. In fact, the billions of dollars saved goes into new equipment, spare parts, and bonuses. Closing unneeded bases also frees thousands of GIs and civilians for undermanned units elsewhere. In reality, those selfishly opposed to closing surplus bases are anti-military. Community leaders need to understand this issue and represent the majority of their citizens, instead of protecting a loud group of unpatriotic parasites by opposing base closures.
Past base closures have benefited communities; except some areas which never had a viable community outside the base. Rather than fighting base closures, community leaders should lobby for 100% reimbursement for educating military children, called "impact aid" which has fallen to just 60% of estimated costs, and demand reimbursement for lost sales taxes. Military people should also lobby for local reimbursements since they must live near or in local communities and their children suffer from under funded schools. Every American should oppose spending billions of dollars for new base family housing each year. This money robs local communities of their tax base and eats up training areas while increasing base support costs. This money is better spent fully funding military housing allowances for living off-base by increasing them 7.5%. This is also better for taxpayers since the GAO reported that contractors charge twice as much to build a house on-base as an identical house off-base.
It may seem expensive to close a base if it requires new construction elsewhere. However, many commands operate in old buildings and old hangers which have been modified and rigged with pipes and exterior ducts to accommodate modern comforts like air conditioning, electricity, telephones and now fiber optic cable. The base closing process allows funding for new facilities at other bases because the overhead savings from abandoning a base will repay these costs within a few years and provide future saving indefinitely. Just grab a phone book and review base activities to confirm that most base funding is devoted to supporting the base itself, not the "tenant" units. Many argue that environmental clean up costs make closing some bases impractical, suggesting there is nothing wrong with allowing servicemen and their families to live and work among toxic filth.
We will spend over $380 billion on our military this year, yet only $69 billion will go for new weapons and equipment. If the previous base closure rounds had not trimmed surplus bases, only $62 billion would be available. And if the budget had not shot up $49 billion in FY2003, only $13 billion would be left for new weapons and equipment. The overhead costs in the US military are huge and become bigger as communist ideology demands more; like military child care centers. Anyone who visits a military base after several years absence is always surprised by how much the base has grown, even though the number of military personnel remained unchanged. Meanwhile, some question if the US military can fight Iraq, which spends just $4 billion a year on its military, and North Korea, which spends just $2 billion a year. Fortunately, the latest information provided by the Pentagon projects that annual savings from the 2005 round will equal the $6.6 billion from the previous four rounds combined.
America funds a military to fight wars, not to provide jobs and fat contracts to insiders. Most civil servants working on bases are not closet communists, and they don't expect taxpayers to keep surplus bases open as a workfare program. They can transfer to another base and military retirees can move if they want to enjoy base benefits. Military people are moved every few years for the good of the service; they have no choice. As for local businesses who profit from bases, they can move or rejoin the world of "free enterprise".
The newest argument against closing bases is because Bush has begun an endless war. This is false because wars are expensive and we need to cut infrastructure fat as soon as possible to afford more weaponry. The 2005 base closing round presents a rare opportunity to shut down excess capacity. The Pentagon has already begun to select bases for closure and consolidation, as this article reveals. G2mil has completed its list of recommendations, which has resulted in a daily flow of hate mail from communists afraid to seek work in the capitalist sector.
There are small bases like Los Angeles AFB that have no military activity, just office space. Our military can save millions of dollars each year and free most the airmen and civilians there to join operational units by shutting down communist activities at that base. Those involved in contracting can go to work in the same buildings, they will just have to survive among the natives without a fort. I am confident that today's servicemen are intelligent enough to survive without communist enclaves envisioned by Karl Marx. I call upon all patriotic Americans to reject the communist ideology which has infected the US military and support base closings and downsizing to free manpower and resources for American combat forces.
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com
G2mil editorials may be freely distributed without permission
January 2003 Articles
have been returned to the Members Library
Letters - comments from G2mil readers
2005 Base Closure Recommendations - Army bases added
Innovative Infantry Tactics - G2mil insight
Waiting for the Next V-22 Crash - soaring costs too
Thoughts on Military Technology - an outsider's view
Vietnam Primer - this classic is now on-line thanks to Mike Sparks
The Boeing Pelican - a huge aircraft
Drugs Involved in Friendly Fire Deaths - news not allowed in the USA
Anti-War Not The Same As Anti-Defense - common sense not allowed on TV
Previous G2mil - December 2002 issue
Library Tour - visit G2mil's library
Library Entrance - members only
All material in G2mil Copyright 2003 G2mil, patents pending on some items. Links to www.G2mil.com are encouraged.