Close USAG Schinnen ASAP

USAG Schinnen is a tiny U.S. Army base in the beautiful and expensive southern tip of the Netherlands. It has no military value whatsoever: no warehouses, no training ranges, no airfield, no barracks, no combat units, no combat support units, no nothing! It doesn't even have base housing or schools, so the army pays thousands of dollars a month to local landlords for each of the 45 American soldiers assigned to Schinnen, who don't understand why they are there, but enjoy the ride. They "work" at the base headquarters where most are MPs who guard the base where 250 civilian employees thrive, who are mostly Dutch. The Army plans to downsize Schinnen by a dozen soldiers, but will keep it open.

Schinnen is an outdated personnel support enclave for the U.S. Army's Cold War logistics bases that closed after the Soviet threat disappeared, but our Generals can't bear to close it. It's in Holland dammit! The locals speak English and the soldiers love it! The Generals insist that we can't close Schinnen simply because it has no military value. Our wealthy NATO allies protest when we lay off their citizens. Why should they stay with NATO if American taxpayers no longer fund highly paid jobs for their citizens and pay exorbitant rent for local housing?

Schinnen claims to support 5000 GIs, American civilians, and family members in the region, but that's a wild claim since most live closer to larger American bases. There are two NATO bases a 20 minute drive away, the JFC Brunssum headquarters and the Geilenkirchen airbase. However, they have their own American support facilities, and even DoD schools. Their few soldiers and airmen occasionally travel to Schinnen to use the bowling center, legal office, fitness center, chapel, club, library, base exchange, commissary, auto hobby shop, barber/beauty shop, swimming pool, theater, and two banks. However, they don't really need them, nor do airmen at the two tiny NATO "share a nuke" bases an hour away, which should close soon anyway. Schinnen claims to support a few American soldiers in Rotterdam, but they live closer to our two U.S. Army bases in Belgium. 

Nearly all the support Schinnen provides is for the soldiers and civilians who work there, i.e. it supports itself. The U.S. Army should evacuate everyone from Schinnen ASAP and turn out the lights. No other military activity would be affected since no one needs Schinnen, except the people assigned to the base, which has no military value. There would be no relocation costs or environmental clean up costs since nothing is done there. JFC Brunssum and Geilenkirchen may need a few additional personnel for some minor activities now provided by Schinnen, but if they no longer need to provide the medical and educational support for the 45 soldiers and their families from Schinnen, they could just reassign some personnel. Closing this outdated base is a win-win for everyone, except two hundred Dutch citizens who work aboard Schinnen and local landlords who profit off the permanent American soldier/tourists assigned there.

                                                Carlton Meyer


July 2012 Update - Schinnen will close!

Schinnen will be quickly downsized and eventually close. This was noted as a long term "enduring" post Cold war base, but the Army had been reconsidering its value, for the reasons I described.

Overseas Base Closure List