WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Stakeholders heard first-hand Wednesday exactly how a Base Realignment and Closure works, with President Obama calling for the restructure, commonly know as BRAC, in 2015.
Robins Air Force Base's $2.9 billion annual impact is felt all over the region, so it wasn't a surprise when nearly 100 people showed up to a community discussion to figure out how to keep Robins Air Force Base off the next BRAC consideration list.
"I thought it was a very important event for all of us to kind of get a perspective on what a commission would be looking for," says Col. Mitchel Butikofer, the base's installation commander.
Two former BRAC commissioners from the last round in 2005 explained the process aims to get rid of excess spending in the military and that no base is exempt from consideration.
"If you take Warner Robins, which essentially does the same thing Tinker (Oklahoma) and Hill (Utah) do, as the Air Force looks at cost-savings, can the Air Force afford to keep all three of them doing the same thing?" asks Maj. Gen. James E. Hill (ret.), one of the former commissioners.
The answer to that question is probably not.
The former commissioners said it would be too late to start efforts to save the base after its name went on the consideration list.
Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon (ret.), former base commander, says now is the time for the base to operate as efficiently as possible and for the community to recognize its strengths and weaknesses.
"We need to accentuate those things that make us a positive place and figure out what we're going to do to mitigate some of the drawbacks of some of the negative things," says McMahon.
Congress hasn't actually approved the president's request for a 2015 BRAC yet, but the 21st Century Partnership is wasting no time just in case.
The group has conducted more than 15 studies showing how RAFB lines up with similar bases.