Cumberland County prepares for possible military base closures

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland County needs your help to make sure its local military bases stay open.

Every so often, the Department of Defense takes a look at its military bases across the country and decides where to make cuts.

Government officials tell us they’re anticipating one of these assessments in 2018, so Cumberland County is preparing now.

“There is always a threat,” Lt. Gov. Mike Stack said.

It’s a threat that would affect us all. Eight-thousand people work at three local bases and pump $900 million into the local economy.

“They work in the business of defense, but also all the small businesses related to keeping the installations going,” Stack said.

“I think as a community, we want to be prepared and ready to say that we are an area that is good for continued military presence and here are the reasons why,” said Jonathan Bowser, CEO of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation.

Residents of Cumberland, York and Dauphin counties are asked to take a survey about the impact of military bases in our area, specifically the Carlisle Barracks, Defense Distribution Center, Susquehanna in New Cumberland, or Naval Support Activity in Mechanicsburg.

“We focus a lot on our location, our workforce, quality of life, and cost of doing business compared to other areas,” said Bowser, whose organization is distributing the survey.

Leaders will use public input to write an assessment for the Department of Defense, so when they make base cuts, they will send people our way.

“We need to make sure that when Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas go lobby on Capitol Hill and say how great they are, that we’re standing there saying, ‘Let’s talk about the things that we’re doing in Central Pennsylvania’,” Stack said.

You can take the survey at www.cumberlandbusiness.com.

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