Senator Craig Estes Attends First Meeting of BRAC Working Group
AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) today participated in the first meeting of the Base Realignment and Closure Working Group.
The objective of the group is to assist the state in preparing for the upcoming Base Realignment and Closure process which begins in 2005 and could lead to more bases closures in Texas.
"I view the BRAC process as an opportunity rather than a threat," said Estes. "It is an opportunity to bolster our current military infrastructure and attract new missions and defense industries to Texas."
"The passage of the Military Preparedness Act during the 78th Legislature was a milestone for the future support of the defense industry in Texas and our continued hard work will ensure that our Texas bases remain open and prosperous," Estes added.
The defense sector creates employment opportunities in both small and large communities throughout Texas. Texas is home to 113,000 active duty service members, which is approximately 11% of the total active force.
Senator Estes also noted, "Sheppard Air Force Base is very important to North Texas and I will work diligently to ensure it stays open and attracts additional missions."
Sheppard Air Force Base is home to the 82nd Training Wing and the 80th Flying Training Wing, which conduct the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program for the 13 member nations. Sheppard provides training in medical service, aircraft maintenance and other specialized technical fields.
Sheppard is the largest employer in the area. Permanent military personnel assigned to the base totaled 3,890 in January of 2003, while civilian employment was 1,465. There is an average of 8,000 students on the base. Total payroll and benefits to active military, retirees and reserves totaled over $368 million in 1998. The annual estimated economic impact of the base on the community is $609 million.
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