The Department of Defense has scheduled the next round of base realignment and closures (BRAC) for next year. But just recently, the House approved a bill that would delay that for another two years, and now this bill is impacting local efforts to save the Tri-Command.
For over a year, the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce Military Enhancement Committee, known as MEC, has been working hard to make sure the Tri-Command survives the next round of BRAC.
"It reinforces the view in many people's mind that BRAC is going to go away and we won't need funds in the future, and the fact is that BRAC isn't going to go away," said MEC member Gen. Jim Shufeld.
Although the president has said he will veto any bill that delays BRAC, this bill could still hurt their efforts. MEC officials say they're worried this bill will halt their ability to raise funds to support their campaign.
"Our biggest fear is that people will become complacent and think it's a done deal. They're going to delay it till 2007," said John Payne, who also sits on the MEC. "That's certainly not the case. I think it will make fundraising more difficult."
But MEC officials say they're not letting this bill stop their efforts. "The committees at the Department of Defense are continuing their work to determine which installations should be on the list and that will not stop," noted Payne. "So our work here at the community level needs to continue to."
The MEC plans on making several trips to Washington, DC, to talk with officials at the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy to tell Beaufort's story and keep the Tri-Command on the map.