'BRAC' Pushed Back to 2021, but Base Closure Still a Worry for San Antonio

San Antonio is breathing a sigh of relief when it comes to the fate of the city's military bases, News Radio 1200 WOAI rpeorts.

Keith Graf, who heads the Texas Military Preparedness Commission, told a special interim Legislative committee meeting at St. Philips College that the next round of 'Base Realignment and Closure' is now not expected until 2021.

"People have heard that the current administration is growing the military and that is not true," Graf said.  "The previous administration was shrinking the military, and the current administration is stopping that."

So that means there is excess capacity among domestic military bases, and Graf urged the committee to do more to protect the military assets currently in the state.

The military installations in San Antonio represent more than $50 billion in economic impact, and military facilities across Texas contribute upwards of a half trillion dollars to the state's overall economy.

Graf says that 'excess capacity' will have to be addressed as Washington grapples with rising deficits and looks for areas where major budget cuts can be made.

"The Air Force has a 30% capacity of facilities," he said.  "The Army is somewhere around 27% excess capacity."

Graf said the best thing cities like San Antonio can do to protect military facilities to to stop 'encroachment.'  That is when homes, highways, and industrial facilities are built right next to a base, and cause problems with the base fulfilling its mission, like helicopter training which can't take place due to excessive light from off base damaging efforts to train pilots to fly at night.

Encroachment has been a major problem with all San Antonio military facilities, all of which were well outside city limits when they were founded, but have since become surrounded by the city.

The biggest problems are at Camp Bullis, a unit of Ft. Sam Houston, which trails MedEvac pilots.  The fast growing Leon Springs area is threatening to infringe on the Army's ability to carry out its mission at Camp Bullis.

The Legislature in 2017 granted cities the right to control zoning in an area around military bases like Camp Bullis, but rejected efforts by the City to annex Leon Springs to impose city zoning laws in the area.

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