CLOSING MILITARY BASES
LILLY J. GOREN AND P. WHITNEY LACKENBAUER
DOMESTIC MILITARY BASE CLOSURES NEVER SEEM TO CONSTITUTE EASY decisions for democratic governments either to make or to implement. Both the United States and Canada have faced a number of expected difficulties in their respective efforts to consolidate and modernize their domestic basing situations. Over the past quarter of a century, both countries have run into significant roadblocks every time the military requested that elected representatives consent to the closure of military bases.
Although the number of bases in the United States (historically and currently) dwarfs the relatively tiny number in Canada (at approximately a 20:1 ratio), and would thus make the issue seem almost incomparable on grounds of magnitude, several salient factors make this case study relevant. In both countries, extraneous infrastructure costs were seen as representing a significant portion of military expenditures. Furthermore, in both Canada and the U.S. there is the complication of the distribution of military bases across the country. Both Canada and the U.S. faced a situation where any particular area or region might find their “defense dollar” losses apparently greater than another region’s or area’s losses. Both countries’ basing structures had grown up and evolved in a haphazard manner, mostly rooted in responding to various threats over extended periods of time. Certain U.S. bases, for example, were first built to protect against the British invasion in the War of 1812, or to get B-47s with atomic bombs as close to the Soviet Union as possible before the age of intercontinental missiles and jet planes. In Canada, the Second