COPPERAS COVE — There’s little doubt what value Fort Hood has to the Central Texas region. Now, others could see that value as well, said retired Col. William Parry.
Parry, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, spoke Thursday at the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation meeting. The biggest point in his presentation was that he does not expect Fort Hood to be immensely affected by any Army downsizing.
“The way the Army will decide where the downsizing will occur is based on the ‘military value’ concept,” he said. “They will objectively analyze the effect a base has on its surrounding area, and the area’s deemed high military value will be unaffected by major changes.”
Essentially, the region around Fort Hood depends on the post for its economic life blood.
Furthermore, he explained that Fort Hood could even see growth, despite the Army’s plan to downsize by 13,000 troops and civilian employees.
“Base realignment and closure is the only way for Fort Hood to grow during the downsizing,” Parry said.
“Other locations given a low military value could lose as many as 16,000 employees. The Army estimates that excess facilities cost $500 million.”
Those costs will certainly be paid, but not by the Central Texas region.
He also discussed the political quicksand Texas and the country face as they approach the end of the fiscal year, mostly owing to the lack of action by the federal government.
“The midterm elections are just around the corner and that means 100 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs,” he said. “And one-third of the Senate, as well.”
That’s some serious turnover. The problem, according to Parry, is that the “lame-duck” Congress will be hesitant to approach the 2015 authorization and appropriations bills. In fact, they are at a standstill now.
“If the House passes the fiscalyear 2015 continuing resolution prior to the upcoming recess, it will most likely end further discussion on spending bills,” he said. “The only other option is a government shutdown.”
However, Parry said he doesn’t think that will occur.