PA 07-205—sSB 937

Public Safety and Security Committee

Commerce Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE OF MILITARY AFFAIRS AND IMPLEMENTING RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE GOVERNOR'S COMMISSION FOR THE ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION OF SOUTHEASTERN CONNECTICUT

SUMMARY: This act increases, from $10 million to $50 million, the amount of bond funding for infrastructure improvements at the Groton submarine base to support long-term, ongoing naval operations. (PA 07-4, June Special Session, eliminates the additional funding but PA 07-7, June Special Session, restores it). It establishes an Office of Military Affairs (OMA) to promote and coordinate statewide activities to (1) enhance the quality of life of military personnel and their families and (2) expand the military and homeland security presence in Connecticut. The act puts OMA within the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for administrative purposes only.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007 for the submarine base funding; October 1, 2007 for OMA's establishment.

GRANT AWARD

Prior law required the DECD commissioner to use $10 million in bond funds for grants to the U. S. Navy or eligible applicants to pay for infrastructure improvements that will increase the military value of the U. S. Naval Submarine Base-New London in Groton. The act increases the amount of bond funds for this purpose by $40 million, to $50 million. It specifies that the infrastructure improvements may include piers; dry docks or facilities for maintenance, operations, and training; “ordinance”; or electric or water utilities. The proceeds are from Manufacturing Assistance Act bonds, which are used to finance industrial parks, facility expansions, and other large-scale development projects.

The act requires the commissioner to negotiate a multiyear lease with the U. S. Navy for any such improvements, at the end of which lease ownership of the improvements may be transferred to the Navy. If the Navy stops operating at the base before the lease ends, it must reimburse the state for the cost of constructing the improvements.

OFFICE OF MILITARY AFFAIRS

Executive Director's Appointment

The act requires the governor, in consultation with the DECD commissioner, to appoint an executive director to manage OMA; and it makes the executive director a department head. As such, the executive director has the same duties and authority as other department heads, including the duty to organize the office and the authority to adopt regulations and enter into contracts to carry out office duties. The legislature must approve the nomination, using the executive and legislative nomination and approval process for department heads.

Executive Director's Duties

Within available appropriations, the executive director must:

1. appoint, employ, and remove staff as deemed necessary to operate the office efficiently;

2. coordinate state and local efforts to prevent the closure or reduction in size of Connecticut military facilities, particularly the Groton submarine base;

3. maximize the state's role in the federal Base Realignment and Closure (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;

4. encourage the relocation of military missions to Connecticut;

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. prepare and submit a report of activities, findings, and recommendations annually to the governor and Commerce and Public Safety and Security committees.

Executive Director's Qualifications

The executive director must have the necessary qualifications to perform the duties of the office. He or she must have served in the armed forces and attained the rank of officer. The governor must give preference to someone who has the necessary training and experience, served in the Navy, and knows about or has had experience with the federal BRAC process.

BACKGROUND

Related Acts

PA 07-4, June Special Session, requires the governor to appoint an OMA director who either has the necessary training, experience, and Navy service or knows about the BRAC process, instead of someone who meets both criteria ( 22). It also eliminates the additional submarine base funding, the examples of projects that would qualify for funding, and related lease provision ( 4). PA 07-7, June Special Session restores the additional funding.

OLR Tracking: VR: DD: PF: RO