To promote more rapid reuse of closing military bases, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced today that the Department of Defense will ask Congress for the authority to transfer former base property to local communities at no cost if they use it for job-generating economic development.
This new policy of no-cost Economic Development Conveyances (EDC) will minimize the need for time-consuming property appraisals and negotiations, thereby speeding property transfer and reuse. DoD believes that speeding property transfers will result in substantial savings to the Department by reducing DoD's costs to maintain and operate this excess property.
Despite significant improvements since 1993, the administration recognized that the federal process for making closing bases available for community reuse was still too cumbersome and slow. With this in mind, Cohen announced last month that the Department was organizing a base reuse "Red Team" composed of senior military and DoD civilian officials to tackle remaining problems. The "Red Team" also will develop plans to implement the anticipated new EDC authority. "We are now putting the emphasis on rapid and smooth transition of property to productive reuse, not sale," Cohen said.
In conjunction with today's announcement, a report also was released entitled "Economic Renewal: Community Reuse of Former Military Bases." This report describes the positive impact of the President's July 1993 five-part plan to assist communities in their redevelopment efforts. The report makes the point that although initially many communities feared that base closures would be their economic death knell, in practice it has been the starting bell for charting a new economic future. The report also highlights several base reuse successes. A copy of the report is available on DefenseLINK.