I’ve heard the Fort is never going to close anyway, so why the fuss?
There is never any guarantee that an installation will remain open permanently. Although there are certain
missions on the Fort that would be difficult to locate elsewhere, the Department of Defense is facing some
pretty significant cutbacks as part of the effort to reduce the federal deficit, as announced by the President
and Secretary of Defense in early January 2012. Recently, Secretary Panetta also recommended revisiting
a formal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process to identify bases to close. It would be unrealistic
to think that Fort Huachuca won’t be touched. What is not known is how much. But part of the evaluation
criteria of every military base includes the degree to which an installation can expand and take other
missions that might be relocated. If the Fort can’t grow because the community can’t assist in meeting its
water conservation obligations, then the installation may be more at risk.
According to an economic study commissioned by the Arizona Department of Commerce in 2008, for every
job directly funded by Fort Huachuca (soldiers, civilians and contractors), there are nearly 2 more generated
off-Post indirectly. Those are teachers, waiters, medical staff, landscapers and the like. If the Fort’s
missions were downsized or relocated, it would affect more than the installation. It would likely affect you in
one way or another. Not only are off-Post jobs at risk, but tax revenues could decline, causing reduced
local government services or higher taxes for those left. Retailers may choose to close, and others may no
longer be interested in Sierra Vista. If you own a home, it could also affect your property value. What
happens to Fort Huachuca is the business of the entire community.