State, communities spending to prevent base closures

Freeman said it’s unclear when another major round of BRAC closures might take place, but in the meantime there has been “a shadow BRAC,” or piecemeal closures and realignment.

Mississippi spent an estimated $60 million prior to BRAC closures in 2005. The state fared relatively well, losing only Naval Station Pascagoula and Air National Guard Wing Meridian. Since, the state has spent nearly $21 million, with local communities matching state spending 20 percent.

More recently, Mississippi and its powerful congressional delegation led by U.S. Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, staved off loss of the 815th Air Lift Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi by thwarting Pentagon plans to move the 130J tactical air lift unit, “Flying Jennies,” to another state. Keesler is the state’s largest installation in terms of people, with 12,000 military and civilian workers providing training to people from around the world.