Continuing Efforts to Save Joint Base [AUDIO]
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is under triple threat: a projected 2017 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), federal budget cuts, and the power of the U.S. Department of Defense to reduce bases without a BRAC process.
That warning comes from Jim Saxton, a former New Jersey congressman who is working with the New Jersey Defense Enhancement Coalition to save the base.
Saxton recently spoke at the Ocean County Mayors Association meeting in Toms River, seeking continued financial support from officials in Ocean and Burlington counties so the nonprofit group can continue battling to protect the Joint Base.
"We must be ready to defend the base and to make the convincing arguments that DOD should not close or reduce us significantly," Saxton said in reference to the three-pronged threat.
This is the sixth time the base is facing a BRAC.
"Of course, we've been through five BRACs in the past and we have won in each case," Saxton said.
The coalition Saxton is working with is a nonprofit organization made up of volunteers. He said they plan to use the argument that the Joint Base offers a good quality of life.
"We have 2,500 new or newly rebuilt homes on the base," he said. "We have medical facilities on the base that are second to none. We have a community support system on the base that, in my opinion, is second to none."
Saxton said there are 100,000 people who make all or part of their living in the Ocean-Burlington County area because the base is located there. Of those, 45,000 people work directly for the Joint Base.
"In addition to that, there are 65,000 jobs which a Rutgers University study termed indirect jobs, which are jobs that are in some way associated with the base: restaurant workers, motel workers, retail clerks, etc." Saxton said.