GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Base Realignment and Closure Commission, otherwise known as BRAC, is set to begin operations once again in 2017. This is under a mandate from Congress.
The coast is no stranger to BRAC. Naval Station Pascagoula closed under BRAC back in 2006. Because of that, members of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce and the Coast Centurion Association are gearing up for another battle in Washington.
The association held its annual meeting this morning in Gulfport. More than 150 community and civic leaders heard from the commanders of the four bases situated on the coast.
Those bases include Keesler Air Force Base, the Seabee base, the Combat Readiness Training Center and the 403rd Reserve Wing at Keesler.
The economic impact of the bases on the coast is unquestioned. Keesler's impact alone is estimated at $1.7 billion a year.
The commanders and civilians all agree that the connection between the bases and the coast goes beyond dollars and cents. The connection is emotional as well, being further strengthened following Hurricane Katrina.
Chamber officials say they will pull out all the stops fighting to keep the bases open. To be fair, as of now, there's been no indication that any of the coast's bases are targeted for closure, but no one is willing to take any chances.
Doug Walker was at today's events and will have complete details on the story tonight on WLOX News Now and on WLOX.com.