Representatives Crow, Lamborn, Heck, and Young Introduce Defense Community Investment Act
Today Representatives Jason Crow (D-CO-06), Doug Lamborn (R-CO-05), Denny Heck (D-WA-10), and Don Young (R-AK-AL) introduced the Defense Community Investment Act to codify the Office of Economic Adjustment and protect it from Department of Defense budget cuts. The Office of Economic Adjustment, which under the bill will be renamed the Office of Defense Community Cooperation and Economic Adjustment, helps states and communities support military readiness and serves as a conduit between the Department of Defense, military services, federal agencies, and communities home to military installations. The bill has been included in the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act Chairman’s mark.
Both Crow and Lamborn represent districts home to military bases including Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora and Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, and Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. The impetus for the bill follows attempts by the Department of Defense to weaken the Office of Economic Adjustment through budget cuts causing long-term staffing vacancies and risks to critical programs that support defense communities and installations.
“Aurora is the proud home of Buckley Air Force Base and our success has been buoyed through the work of the Office of Economic Adjustment. The OEA plays a tremendous role in bridging the gap between our military and the communities they call home by supporting efforts around sustainability, readiness, and resiliency. The Defense Community Investment Act ensures we protect the OEA from shortsighted budget cuts and firmly establish the critical role they play for our military bases and communities,” said Crow.
“I am pleased to join Representative Crow as a cosponsor to this commonsense bill which will enable the Department of Defense to assist State and local governments in addressing deficiencies in defense community infrastructure. This helpful legislation will enhance the military value, resilience, and quality of life at our military installations. As the Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee, I am glad we were able to include a similar provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, and appreciate this great example of bipartisan teamwork,” said Lamborn
The following are the overarching programs the office manages for the DOD:
(1) The Community Investment Program enables states and communities to organize, evaluate, and plan for appropriate community investments to support the sustainability, readiness, and growth of military missions at installations.
(2) Assist communities affected by Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) address issues with land use planning to respond to unanticipated environmental contamination and the availability of new parcels of land for redevelopment.
(3) Industry Resilience projects support critical military missions by building a more competitive and resilient defense industrial base, creating closer civilian-military partnerships, and promoting community and economic development that support key military missions.
(4) The Military Installation Sustainability program of assistance provides technical and financial assistance to states and local governments to analyze and implement actions necessary to foster, protect, and enhance military installation sustainability that alleviates and prevents incompatible development and other threats to installation resiliency.
As Congress begins debate on the NDAA, Crow has led efforts to protect and strengthen military bases from threats brought on by climate change and energy dependency and introduced the DOD Water Assessment and Testing Enhanced Reporting (WATER) Act and the Guaranteeing Resilient Installations for Defense (GRID) Act. The DOD WATER Act would require improvements to water scarcity reports to ensure a recurring, comprehensive water scarcity analysis, while the GRID Act would launch a pilot program to address vulnerabilities to electrical grids that power critical military installations rely on.