Location:
EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE;

OLR Research Report


March 3, 2011

 

2011-R-0132

OFFICE OF MILITARY AFFAIRS (OMA) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NOMINEE

By: Joseph Holstead, Associate Analyst

OMA AND THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

OMA promotes and coordinates state-wide activities that enhance the quality of life of military personnel and their families and works to expand the military and homeland security presence within the state. OMA's executive director is a department head with the same duties and authority as other department heads. (OMA is located within the Department of Economic and Community Development for administrative purposes only.) Within available appropriations, the executive director must:

1. coordinate state and local efforts to prevent the closure or reduction in size of Connecticut military facilities, particularly the U.S. Naval Submarine Base-New London, located in Groton (sub base Groton);

2. maximize the state's role in the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) process, including acting as liaison to (a) the state's congressional delegation on defense, military, and BRAC issues and (b) consultant lobbyists the state hires to help monitor BRAC activities;

3. encourage the relocation of military missions to Connecticut;

4. coordinate state and local efforts to enhance the quality of life of military personnel and their families living or working in Connecticut;

5. review and make recommendations for state policies that affect Connecticut military facilities and the defense and homeland security industries;

6. coordinate state, regional, and local efforts to encourage the growth of Connecticut's defense and homeland security industry;

7. support the development of a defense and homeland security industry cluster;

8. establish and coordinate a Connecticut Military and Defense Advisory Council to provide technical advice and assistance;

9. oversee the implementation of recommendations of the Governor's Commission for the Economic Diversification of Southeastern Connecticut; and

10. prepare and submit a report of activities, findings, and recommendations annually to the governor and Commerce and Public Safety and Security committees (CGS 32-58b).

QUESTIONS

1. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus stated on March 1, 2011, that the departments of Defense and the Navy are not preparing for another round of base closings at this time, according to a March 2, 2011, article in The Day. Regardless, what are the ongoing efforts to make sub base Groton more indispensable to these departments?

2. In 2011, what percentage of Connecticut's gross domestic product is attributable to defense spending? Is there room for growth or diversification in the state's defense industry?

3. How can OMA assist in lessening the impact of projected decreases in federal defense spending, which are detailed in OMA's Annual Report 2010-2011 (dated February 4, 2011)?

4. Last year was a particularly active period for the military in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, including for Reserve and Connecticut National Guard members. On August 11, 2010, you stated in The Day newspaper, “[a]ctive programs are now in place to support service members and their families.” Please describe these programs and OMA's role.

5. OMA's 2009-2010 Annual Report states, “Connecticut is well positioned to maintain a strong defense industry in the years ahead.” The report cites the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's “2010 State New Economy Index” as evidence. Does this outlook take into account the consistent loss of 25- to 34- year-olds in the state and is OMA working to keep this age group in the state to aid in maintaining and improving its defense industry?

6. How have recent decisions by Congress on jet engines positioned firms such as Pratt and Whitney to keep and expand jobs in Connecticut? How can OMA work to help ensure these skilled defense industry jobs remain in the state?

7. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently stated the country should avoid wars such as those ongoing in Afghanistan and Iraq during an address to U.S. Military Academy cadets at West Point, Friday, February 25, 2011, according to a New York Times article of the same date.  Does this imply that an asset such as the Groton sub base is more secure in the Navy's and the nation's current defense strategy (i.e., with potentially less reliance on the Army's conventional ground forces)?

8. Has sub base Groton expanded its use by other military services (e.g., the Army or Air Force) and, if so, has OMA assisted in this process? (The September 2005 final BRAC report to the President listed “military value” first under the Statutory BRAC Final Selection Criteria. It specifically cited the importance of a base's “impact on joint warfighting, training, and readiness,” (p. 7), http://www.brac.gov/docs/final/BRACReportcomplete.pdf.)

9. What is the first improvement you would make to aid OMA's mission if budget considerations were not an issue?

JH:ts