TEES center helps military with new concept for Brooks AFB

March 5, 2002
| By: Aubrey Bloom

COLLEGE STATION - San Antonio's Brooks Air Force Base pumps $480 million into the local economy each year - money that could be lost if not for a new project that may provide an alternative to permanently closing military bases. By helping the U.S. military cut the costs of operating its bases and find new ways to use existing infrastructure, the partnership project between the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the city of San Antonio and the U.S. Air Force preserves a vital part of the San Antonio economy and lures new businesses into the area. As part of the Brooks City-Base Project, the Air Force will turn Brooks Air Force Base over to the city this summer. The Air Force will still remain active at the site, but the city of San Antonio will take over responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the former military base. "The city of San Antonio will own the property, and the Air Force will rent it back," said Skip Mills, director of San Antonio operations for TEES' Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT). "The Air Force gets out of the day-to-day property management business, so it can do what it does best - support the warfighter." TCAT will assist in attracting new technology-based businesses, aid in technology transfer and in developing research activities at the site. TCAT will also assist the city with program administration activities. "With the Air Force staying here, we can leverage their presence and bring in technology-based businesses," Mills said. "This is a great opportunity for the state and for TEES." The project is receiving a lot of attention in the nation's capital, Mills said. The Bush Administration wants to pursue alternatives to closing military bases. The model used for Brooks City-Base may provide legislators with a workable solution that can be used as other military bases around the country are decommissioned. "I'm sure some form of what we're doing here will be part of any package coming out of Congress," he said. "The Brooks City-Base concept brings unique opportunities for a city that is willing to work with a military base or facility to reduce costs by privatizing or putting municipal services to work."Writer: 3/5/02 NR 983

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