Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Arizona's Report to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown


ARIZONA'S REPORT TO THE
BASE REALIGNMENT AND
CLOSURE COMMISSION

Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission:
I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today. I speak today with one voice, but I speak on behalf
of every Arizonan -- from the 237 employees at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Mesa to the
researchers and students at Arizona State University, from the civilians and military officers in the
greater-Phoenix community to every citizen who values Arizona's role in defending our nation.
Your commission was charged with a difficult task, and many of the military installations you identified
for closure and relocation play important roles in their communities. Your choices couldn't have been
easy ones to make. That said, I respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to move the Air
Force Research Laboratory at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa.
This award-winning laboratory makes valued contributions to the Air Force and the Department of
Defense - contributions that I believe would suffer if the lab were relocated. The Research Laboratory
has made its home in Arizona and depends on its synergy with ASU East and the eight support
contractors located at Williams Gateway Airport. Furthermore, the employees of the laboratory are
happily living in Arizona. Eighty percent of the current staff indicates that they will not move to Ohio if
the lab relocates. Thus, if you follow through with your decision, the military will lose eighty percent of
the educated, hard-working AFRL researchers.
Additionally, I am pleased to inform you that Arizona and Arizona State University are willing to make a
long-term commitment to this laboratory in Arizona. I respectfully ask that you consider transferring
ownership of the lab facility and personnel to ASU, which would allow the Lab's important work to
continue uninterrupted and retain the Lab's value for the Department of Defense. A transfer of ownership
not only would preserve the Lab, but avoid relocation costs and relieve the Department of Defense of the
operating cost of the Lab.
Included in this book you will find a copy of my official testimony before your commission, the Arizona
Military Installation Report, Resolutions from the City of Mesa and the Williams Gateway Airport
Authority, Letters of Support from members of Arizona's Congressional Delegation and supporting
materials about military operations in Arizona. All of these materials help demonstrate the importance of
the research lab in Arizona and show how vital it is to members of the statewide community.
Thank you for your time and your careful consideration of such a critical issue.
Yours very truly,
Janet Napolitano
Governor
TESTIMONY OF
GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO
BEFORE THE
BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION
REGIONAL HEARING
JUNE 24, 2005
MARSHALL JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
CLOVIS, NEW MEXICO
TESTIMONY OF GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO • BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION • JUNE 24, 2005
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission,
Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today. We recognize the very difficult
work of the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop the recommendations that they
have made to the Commission, and we understand the gravity of the task that you and
your colleagues have undertaken. So we particularly appreciate the opportunity to
provide you with a brief overview of the proactive steps taken at every level of
government in the State of Arizona over the last 30 years to ensure the long-term
operational viability of all military facilities in Arizona. We also respectfully request your
favorable reconsideration of the recommendation to close and relocate the Air Force
Research Laboratory on the East Campus of Arizona State University in Mesa, Arizona.
Let me be very clear: the State of Arizona has been, is, and will continue to be extremely
supportive of the military facilities in our state and the men and women who work there.
A strong, continued military presence is a part of our long-term economic future and is
critical to our commitment to the security of the United States.
The constellation of military installations in Arizona provides the Department of Defense
with unparalleled access to high-quality, weather friendly, cost-effective training for the
U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The constellation is comprised of an
integrated network of bases, testing and training facilities, ranges, and airspace, anchored
by the Barry M. Goldwater Range and its affiliated airspace, that operate within a
physical environment that is uniquely suited to their individual and combined missions
and to accommodate the nation's evolving defense posture.
Arizonans are confident that as DoD continues to configure its infrastructure in a way
that enhances joint war-fighting, facilitates joint training and improves efficiency, that the
actions by our State, county and local governments over the last three decades do indeed
enhance and improve the military value of those installations. These enhancements have
effectively secured the ability of installations in Arizona to successfully carry out their
missions today and well into the future.
Since we first enacted legislation in 1978 to preserve the mission viability of military
airports by incrementally eliminating the threat of residential and other incompatible land
uses, we have taken a comprehensive, coordinated and continuous approach to
compatible land use around military installations that is unique to Arizona. While state
statutes, such as "the vicinity box,"1 were initially designed to address concerns in
Arizona, they now serve as models for resolving compatibility issues at military
installations nationwide and have been acknowledged as such by the National Governors
Association and DoD itself. In addition, Arizona has enacted several statutory measures
that have combined to do the following:
1 "Vicinity box" defines the underlying area of the majority of traffic patterns associated with a particular
facility. For example, the vicinity box for Luke Air Force Base is a 4x10-mile box. Davis-Monthan Air
Force Base's vicinity box is a 5x10-mile box.
2
TESTIMONY OF GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO • BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION • JUNE 24, 2005
• Establish the use of the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ)
methodology for the development of land use plans consistent with preserving
mission viability of military airports, and require political subdivisions that have
territory in the vicinity of a military airport to adopt land use plans and zoning
regulations compatible with military airport operations;
• Establish "territory in the vicinity of a military airport," known as "the box,"
requiring disclosure to property owners; for example, in the case of Luke Air
Force Base, the box encompasses 40 square miles;
• Establish enhanced notification of proposed developments to military airports in
the State and provide heightened disclosure requirements for the potential
purchase of land within the vicinity of a military airport;
• Extend statutory military airport high-noise and accident potential zone
protections to auxiliary fields; for example, the Gila Bend Auxiliary Field and
Luke's Auxiliary Airfield-1 in Surprise, Arizona; and
• Require notification to potential buyers of real estate underlying military training
routes that there is military activity over their land, thereby preserving and
protecting access to the Barry M. Goldwater Range and associated airspace,
which serves as the centerpiece to and satisfies the needs of all services in
Arizona.
Luke Air Force Base is one of the best examples of how Arizona's statutory protections
work. At Luke and its two auxiliary fields, Aux. 1 and Gila Bend, Arizona has removed
32,788 acres from the threat of incompatible development - more than double what is
currently required through the strict definition of AICUZ.
To continue Arizona's efforts to meet the long-term needs of the Department of Defense
and ensure that the military presence remains a strong force in Arizona's economy, I
appointed a statewide Military Facilities Task Force when I became Governor in 2003.
The Task Force made 27 recommendations - some which required executive action, and
others that required legislative consideration at the state and federal levels. I accepted all
27 of the Task Force's recommendations, and we have adopted 18 of them. The
remaining nine are pending final implementation.
One of the recommendations I adopted was to create a permanent Military Affairs
Commission to effectively pursue long-term preservation and enhancement of the federal
military installations in Arizona. We also created a military installation fund, and the
Legislature and I have allocated $4.8 million in general funds each year for the next 20
years to address private property rights in our military preservation and enhancement
efforts, and to purchase conservation easements near military bases or finance
infrastructure improvements as needed.
3
TESTIMONY OF GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO • BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION • JUNE 24, 2005
The cities, town and counties that neighbor the constellation of facilities in Arizona also
take an active role in preserving and enhancing the mission of installations across the
State. For example,
• The State of Arizona, University of Arizona, Cochise County and the City of
Sierra Vista formed the Upper San Pedro (River) Partnership in 1999 to meet the
water needs of area residents while supporting the water preservation initiatives of
Fort Huachuca and protecting unique river water issues in the region. In addition,
the City of Sierra Vista and Cochise County work closely with the DoD
Frequency Manager to ensure that the pristine electromagnetic environment is
maintained for critical C4ISR testing;
• At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the City of Tucson has adopted noise contour
lines exceeding the compatibility requirements for the current aircraft based at
Davis-Monthan; the Tucson Unified School District has closed Keen Elementary
School located off the end of the runway; and last year, Pima County voters
approved a $10 million bond to purchase private property to ensure that local
development is compatible with the Base;
• At the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma and the Yuma Proving Grounds, the
City of Yuma and Yuma County were among the first local jurisdictions in the
late 1970s to develop joint land use plans, and the City has successfully
implemented an affordable housing program critical to personnel at both
installations; and,
• At Luke Air Force Base, the City of Goodyear purchased Duncan Farms for $3.5
million to remove an incompatible land use from the southern departure corridor,
which is a critical flight path from the Base to the Goldwater Range. They also
removed 145 homes from a previously grandfathered development within the
Luke contours. The City of Phoenix has purchased land and adopted a resolution
to keep 920 acres bordering the north side of Luke as an agricultural preserve, and
all 12 local governments surrounding Luke have voluntarily employed a
graduated density concept that further restricts residential development three
miles beyond the noise contours.
Arizona has also taken action over the last 10 years to significantly enhance the military
value of the Air Force Research Lab in Mesa, and its role within Arizona's integrated
network of military facilities. I respectfully request that you reconsider the DoD
recommendation to relocate the Lab to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Given the DoD
criteria for sustaining the military value of the Lab, we believe that the work of the Lab is
far too important to the DoD and our allies to be significantly interrupted, and that it is in
the best interests of the Department of Defense and the Air Force to keep the Lab at its
present location as a stand-alone facility.
The 1995 BRAC Commission reversed a 1991 recommendation to relocate the Lab based
on several important findings. Its findings are as accurate today as they were then:
4
TESTIMONY OF GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO • BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION • JUNE 24, 2005
• The Lab was largely a civilian operation well-suited to a stand-alone
configuration;
• The Lab's proximity to Luke Air Force Base provided a ready source of pilots
who support research activities as consultants and subjects;
• The Lab's facilities were consolidated, secure and well-suited to research
activities;
• The Lab's activities were consistent with the community's plans for
redevelopment, which included a university and research park in place of
Williams Air Force Base, which was closed in the 1991 BRAC round; and,
• The relocation and new facilities costs seriously exceeded original estimates.
That rationale is even more compelling today than it was in 1995. Over the last 10 years,
the Lab synergies have grown to include military pilots from all services - more than 550
U.S. pilots and weapons controllers over the last year alone plus corporative training with
the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. They have also grown to include the
significant research and development activities on the Arizona State University
Polytechnic Campus (ASU East), studies in conjunction with Maricopa County
community colleges, and the industrial, aviation-oriented work of eight private research
institutions on site at the Williams Gateway Airport.
The 1995 plans to redevelop Williams Air Force Base in a manner that enhances the
work of the Lab are now a reality and hold the potential for expanding the Lab's
facilities. There are multiple factors for the BRAC Commission to consider as it evaluates
the Department's recommendation to close this valuable resource:
• The 1995 BRAC Commission recommended the Air Force Research Laboratory
(AFRL) remain open and at Williams Gateway Airport as a stand-alone facility.
• The Lab's award winning performance is the result of the existing significant
interaction and synergy with ASU East and the eight support contractors located
at Williams. These strong and effective relationships will be lost if the Lab is
moved.
o In addition to lost training, research and development momentum in
conjunction with allies including the United Kingdom, Canada, France,
Germany and Italy would be significantly disrupted.
• The Lab's function and its ability to provide service to DoD will be severely
damaged by the move.
• There is significant potential for expansion of the Lab's physical facilities at their
current location to accommodate an expanded military research mission. A
private sector group is currently working with the Lab to construct an adjacent
Mission Training Engineering Center. This facility is in its final design stage.
• The cost to relocate the Lab would be significant, in terms of financial resources,
manpower and intellectual capital.
o The cost of contracting suitable facilities at another location would exceed
$30 million.
5
TESTIMONY OF GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO • BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION • JUNE 24, 2005
o The cost in terms of lost intellectual capital, technical and engineering
expertise would cripple the Lab's current function.
Eighty percent of the Lab's employees would not relocate.
• Williams Air Force Base closed in 1993 and since then our local reuse effort for
both Williams Gateway Airport and ASU East have relied significantly on the
investment and activity resulting from the continuing presence of the Lab at the
former base.
• The Lab's closure would have a significant adverse effect on the local economy.
We strongly believe that it is in the best interest of the Department of Defense, State of
Arizona and the local community to retain the Air Force Research Lab at its current
location so that its functions can continue unabated, its manpower and intellectual capital
can be preserved, and significant relocation costs can be avoided.
We do, however, recognize that an objective of the BRAC process is to consolidate
functions and reduce property holdings. As Governor, I believe that the capabilities of the
Lab within its current relationships and synergies should be preserved to the greatest
extent possible because of its military value, so I am pleased to advise you today that
Arizona and Arizona State University are prepared to make a long-term commitment and
investment to retain the training and research that is currently taking place at the Lab. 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, a
major class-one research university. A more formalized partnership with the university
could operate to reduce DoD's holding costs and enhance the military value of the
facility.
Arizona State University is a national leader in interdisciplinary research and was
recently awarded an Army contract to develop the Army Flexible Display Center. The
ASU East campus surrounds the Lab and includes significant adjacent space for
expansion and security enhancement. ASU is building a new $12 million engineering
facility immediately west of the Lab for cooperative work with the Lab. 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.
After a careful review of the situation, I believe we can craft a business plan between the
Air Force and the university that satisfies DoD needs and precludes the degradation of the
critical training and research work conduced at the Lab with their partners. I welcome the
opportunity to personally facilitate such a conversation.
Today, Arizona plays an irreplaceable role in the transformation of U.S. military
capabilities because of an emphasis on joint training, development of new and enhanced
communications and intelligence capabilities, and an unparalleled training and range
infrastructure. These assets are unique in their combined ability to meet future training
6
TESTIMONY OF GOVERNOR JANET NAPOLITANO • BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION • JUNE 24, 2005
needs of the Department of Defense, and present significant opportunities to enhance the
long-term viability of military facilities in Arizona.
Arizona has a long and demonstrable history of providing DoD with unparalleled
resources and an unwavering commitment to its mission and operations. We will
continue to apply our resources and make our state, county and local decisions in a
manner that preserves and enhances DoD military missions and balances those missions
with compatible development. We will support leading edge research and development of
new equipment, weapons, and operating systems, and I can confidently assure you that
Arizona will continue to be at the forefront of DoD efforts to protect and expand the very
best test and training facilities, ranges, and airspace.
Mr. Chairman, the military presence in Arizona is important to our state, and to our
future. I think it is also safe to say that Arizona is equally as important to military
families. I'm not surprised to learn that 80 percent of the employees at the Air Force
Research Lab would choose to stay in Arizona instead of follow the Lab if it is relocated.
The quality of life in our State is so high that people want to come to Arizona, not leave
it. Arizona offers good jobs for military and civilian spouses, quality schools for our
children, and affordable housing for families. Arizona is moving forward, leading the
way into the 21st century, and I hope that every military family in Arizona can continue to
play a critical role in our State's future.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, we thank you for allowing us the
opportunity to meet with you today and look forward to responding to any of your
questions.

Skip to top
Back to top