GOVERNOR TESTIFIES BEFORE BRAC COMMISSION
Makes Case to Keep Air Force Lab in Arizona
Governor Janet Napolitano asked the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to reconsider its decision to move Mesa's Air Force Research Laboratory out of state when she testified today at a regional hearing in Clovis, New Mexico.
During her testimony, Governor Napolitano defended the value of Arizona's entire network of military installations. She also proposed that the Commission allow Arizona to retain the Air Force Research Laboratory at Williams Gateway Airport as a stand-alone operation rather than relocating it to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
"I respectfully ask that you consider retaining the lab as a stand-alone facility that takes greater advantage of the tremendous potential synergies with Arizona State University," Governor Napolitano said. "A more formalized partnership with the university could operate to reduce the Department of Defense's holding costs and enhance the military value of the facility."
Brigadier General Thomas Browning and Lisa Atkins, co-chair of the Governor's Military Affairs Commission served as witnesses to the Governor's testimony. In her remarks, Governor Napolitano noted that moving the Lab will cause the military to lose the partnerships it created with Arizona State University and other local contractors. The military will also have to
shoulder the costs of relocation as well as hiring and training staff to replace the large number of top researchers in Mesa who say they will not move to Ohio.
"We understand that eighty percent of the Lab's current employees indicate they will not relocate if the Lab is moved," Napolitano said. "An enhanced partnership between the Lab and the university would result in substantial cost savings to the military, retain and enhance existing infrastructure and intellectual assets, and substantially increase the military value of the
laboratory to the Air Force."
The Air Force Research Laboratory in Mesa currently employs 237 workers and injects $74 million a year into the local economy.