Wednesday, January 23, 2013

NAS Key West


Here's the Navy discussion in particular.

Military Leaders Warn Congress of 'Hollow' Force |

NAS Key West is a major Naval facility here in Key West.  It's importance to the economic well-being of Key West and the lower Keys is large.  In addition, the U.S. Army maintains its Special Forces underwater training base here, and the U.S. Coast Guard also maintains a significant complement of forces here as well.

A large measure of what goes on here involves training  -- fighter pilot training, Special Forces training, and more.  The expenditure of Federal dollars in the Keys is in the many millions, and much of it flows into  City, County and State coffers in the form of salaries, local expenditures for infrastructure services, and sales taxes paid by the military and civilian workers who make up a significant portion of the local population.

But it's almost a foregone conclusion that the military budget will be reduced to a smaller portion of the American economy, as wars wind down and dollars are shifted to areas of greater needs and more productive uses of our national investment capital.

The overall impact of the Navy and its allied branches on the Key West economy is much larger than that of the cruise ships that ply the harbors here.  It might well be time for City leaders to contemplate the impact of a diminished military presence here.  The last time it happened, the City was left desolate and broke.  If it happens again the results, although perhaps not as dire as those of the 1970's, will be felt throughout the Keys.

And, lest it seem as if I'm arguing on behalf of the military leaders, let me point out that they are describing the effect of budget cuts, and it appears to me that they are really saying that its the failure to fund budget increases that will impact its missions.  I'm all for a strong military defense capability.  Not such much for wars of adventure.  We should NOT be the world's police.

Remember old Ike and what he said about the military-industrial complex?  No doubt that Chuck Hagel does.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

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