Impact closure could have on U.S. Army War College

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With talk of base realignments and closures in Washington, many wonder what the impact could be on Pennsylvania.

Lt. Governor Jim Cawley said he will work to protect Pennsylvania’s military bases and institutions.

Continuing his statewide tour of military installations, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley Thursday looked at the possible economic impact realignment or even a closure could have on the Army War College/Carlisle Barracks in Cumberland County.

The college employes 1700 people,  with more than 1000 students attending courses annually. “It affects our housing market, our retail market, our entertainment, our lodging. There is so much economic activity that comes out of here that ripples through the community, so much that it would be a horrible loss to lose part of it let alone all of it,” said State Representative Stephen Bloom (R) 199th District.

The US Army War College educates and develops leaders for service at the strategic level. “The college is about teaching our strategic leaders, the very top officers of the Army. This is about national security, and making the army smarter and more effective,” said Rep. Bloom.

“Military operations like the Army War College are economic engines providing jobs and prosperity for communities across Pennsylvania. They are worth fighting for, and Governor Corbett and I believe the men and women who work here are worth fighting for,” Cawley said. “They come here to learn to fight for us. I think we need to fight for them now.”

Cawley serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Military Community Protection Commission, which Gov. Tom Corbett established in 2012 to organize support for the state’s military facilities and monitor federal activity that might impact them.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed another round of the Base Realignment and Closure program, BRAC, for 2015.  However, Congress has been reluctant to authorize it. The last round of BRAC occurred in 2005.

“We understand the desire to cut away the fat. Eventually, when you cut away the fat, you start cutting into muscle and perhaps even cutting into bone,” said Cawley.

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