AURORA | Aurora lawmakers say two bills that have been signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper will help protect Buckley Air Force base from a new round of base closures.
Senate Bill 157, sponsored by state Senate President Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, will hire an independent contractor to complete an analysis of Colorado’s nearly $7 billion military operations.
Carroll said the report, which will cost $300,000, will provide Colorado with a competitive advantage as the U.S. Department of Defense begins the next Base Realignment and Closure evaluations in 2015. The DOD will be looking at whether a military base has a 20-year plan, its current capacity, economic and environmental impact and any cost-saving measures its implemented so far.
“We are trying to mirror criteria we know they’re going to have to use to evaluate in next round of BRAC,” she said of the study.
The measure sets August as the deadline for when the state’s Department of Military and Veteran Affairs would need to issue a request for proposal to contractors to conduct an independent analysis of the state’s military and its impact. It requires that the department select a contractor for the study by October, and that the study be completed by April 2015.
At least 20 other states have conducted a similar statewide analysis, and 15 more are completing their studies. This will be the first time Colorado has conducted an independent analysis of its military industry.
Buckley Air Force Base sailed through BRAC cuts in 2005, but this year marked the first time in a decade its impact on the local economy failed to surpass $1 billion. “We have lived through both Fitzsimons and Lowry. A lot of families first moved to Aurora because of the military. Keeping Buckley is so critical for Aurora, and frankly, for the state,” Carroll said.
House Bill, 1351, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, will also require the state’s Office of Economic to advocate for state involvement in U.S. military missions, support private businesses that bid on military contracts and assist the Colorado Congressional delegation in protecting bases in Colorado from BRACs.
“If we have it in statute, we’re saying the state’s (support) of our military is in perpetuity. It’s not just for this year. It’s for now and forever,” Todd said. “When we see the Pentagon looking at states that support military development, Colorado will come out strong.”