BRAC 2021 could impact Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene economy, businesses

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - Dyess Air Force base is one of Abilene's biggest economic drivers. According to Abilene Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council Vice-President, Brian Yates, the base currently has an "approximately $418 million impact."

That's over $1 million per day that gets injected into the Abilene economy. The new budget issued by the President could impact the base.

"The President's budget for 2018 that he just sent to Congress has an authorization, a request, for a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC)  for 2021," Yates says.

The BRAC will focus on two things: efficiency and consolidation.

"There might be a decrease in the assigned mission out there," Yates says. "An example would be rather than close the base, outright the concern would be that this BRAC would focus on efficiencies and consolidation so that the weapons system would be stationed somewhere else and so when the airplanes go away, the people go away and the economic impact go away."

Yates says if the economic impact goes away, Abilene's local economy could quickly turn into a recession.

Local business owners, like James Hill, co-owner of Abilene Indoor Gun Range, say Dyess Air Force Base is a crucial asset to business.

"We have quite a few members and just daily shooters from the Air Force or the military," Hill says.

Which is why Hill says if Dyess suffers, small business like his could suffer as well.

"It would slow us down," he says. "What would scare me more is if it was just my business, we would survive. But the problem is the effect it would have on Abilene and all the other small businesses would start drying up."

The last BRAC that was issued was in 2005. Yates says that Dyess wasn't severely impacted then.


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