Representatives of all of Georgia’s military communities met with U.S. Sen. David Perdue in Atlanta on Monday to discuss how the bases can protect and grow jobs.
Representatives of the 21st Century Partnership, which advocates for Robins Air Force Base, were among those in attendance. Rob Brooks, partnership chairman, said it’s the first time since he has been involved with the group that all of the state’s military communities have met.
“We haven’t had a meeting where we had everybody together,” he said. “Clearly the defense communities need to get together more often.”
Among topics of mutual interest discussed were the uncertainties of military spending and the length of time it takes for bases to make hires.
In an interview with The Telegraph after the meeting, Perdue, a Georgia Republican, said he appreciated having all of the base communities represented in one room.
“The consensus is that every single one of our bases is strong,” he said. “The performances are very competitive with the bases they compete with inside their service, but we recognize with the debt crisis and all of the problems we have with funding the military that we can’t take anything for granted.”
One topic discussed was the formation of a military commission that would meet regularly to address issues among bases across the state.
Perdue said all of the state’s military bases combined have a $23 billion economic impact, with Robins being the largest.
Although many still advocate for a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission, Perdue doesn’t expect that to happen any time soon.
“I don’t think BRAC is in our immediate future but we have to assume that sooner or later all of these bases will come under some sort of rationalization,” he said.
Perdue voted for the budget compromise that increased military spending but did not include funding for President Donald Trump’s promised border wall, which Perdue supports. He said without the budget agreement a continuing resolution would have remained in place which “would have really hamstrung our military.”
That includes plans to get new aircraft for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System at Robins. The replacement program would have been stalled by a continuing resolution, Perdue said, but the agreement keeps it on track.
Perdue serves on the Armed Services Committee.
Perdue said he advocates changing the budget process and said that behind the scenes bi-partisan talks have been taking place to “create a politically neutral platform to fund the government.”