Every time the military has tried to consolidate itself under a Base Realignment and Closure Comission(BRAC) process it leads to it becoming a political football. It quickly deteriorates into an argument on why things should not be closed based on selfish local reasons.
Private companies do not have to suffer the same problem for the most part. If it makes financial sense to move or cut operations, it happens. There can be consternation and even political attempts to stop it as what has happened with Boeing trying to move operations but usually the process goes forward.
Local decisions can also be interefered with for selfish irrelevant reasons. When the new Dimond High was built a number of years ago people in the Bayshore neighborhood made ridiculous arguments about kids not being allowed to stay with middle school classmates in high school with new district lines drawn. The pandering even got to the state level when Lesil McGuire involving herself. ASD concerns it would overcrowd the new Dimond were shuffled aside.
Barack Obama has been on the campaign trail saying that Mitt Romney does not understand that the government cannot make decisions based on financial concerns alone. Obama claims he has to worry about everybody's job and not just the jobs of one company.
The Obama argument is why some of the hardest people to fire are government employees. It seems to be an unwritten rule that the government is never allowed to shrink or become efficient if it causes any pain. How many private companies could possibly operate that way successfully?
The latest issue to hit the Alaska news with regards to government efficiency is the movement of F-16s from Eilson AFB to Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson. United States Air Force (USAF) estimates put the savings achieved at $227M over 5 years.
The USAF report outlines savings related to moving personnel and consolidation of services. There are one time costs associated with construction and demolition of facilities but those are overcome by the savings over the long term.
The announcement was barely made when the trio of panderers also known as the Alaska Congressional Delegation was making noise. Mark Begich, Lisa Murkowski, and Don Young all came out screaming that the USAF was moving too fast without enough research.
The next thing you know, Sean Parnell, trained well in pandering by Sarah Palin, got into the act. All of a sudden volcano eruptions were going to shut down the entire Alaska USAF and all kinds of arguments about housing in Anchorage and Fairbanks were made.
There is a reason the military has leaders. There is a reason those leaders are involved when assets are to be moved. They understand the functional and financial implications to to the military. It should be expected that military leaders would function as executives in any private corporation.
Alaska politicians will not be happy unless the decision is to keep the F-16s at Eilson. It is the only way they get to have their pandering be successful. Who needs Generals when you have Marky Mark, Slisa, DY and Dullnell?
Yes, this move is not beneficial to the Fairbanks area.
Common sense dictates that consolidating services allowing reduction in personnel will save the USAF money. Jets can be moved if a volcano erupts occasionally. There are many services in Anchorage that military people in Fairbanks have to utilize at times including medical.
And yes, the panderers can claim all kinds of things that will cost more. They can also talk about a hit to an economy and people having to move. Military people are used to moving and in the name of efficiency and consolidation sometimes economies suffer.
Kelly AFB was put on the chopping block when I lived in San Antonio. The city was opposed and did what it could do to stop the closure. Eventually, reality set in and lemonade was made from lemons as Port San Antonio was born.
It turns out that moving the F-16s might end up being like a death penalty case. The delays and costs of the consternation blocking the move might end up eating up any savings of the move. The cheaper option may be life in prison rather than constant appeals.
This is why our government fails to get things done and costs too much. Regardless of party affiliation, our leaders end up looking for popular instead of correct decisions. And if they cannot force it for legitimate reasons they drown it in cries for more studies. A private corporation does not have that luxury or it goes out of business.
Government should show more compassion then a corporation. That compassion has to be tempered by realism. Over time, a decision should be made for an overall better result. The short term pain cannot disrupt the need to make the call.
It would be nice to think Mitt Romney would bring more of a business approach to washington DC. The truth is it will be nearly impossible. The inertia created by special interests whether corporations, unions, or local governments has made it impossible to make the difficult decisions needed to move the country forward.
Sorry, JFK but the only question being asked by most people in 2012 is, "What can my country do for me?"