In 2005, Portales and Clovis collectively held their breaths as Cannon Air Force Base was placed on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list.
With a lot of hard work and lobbying by the public and politicians, Cannon received "enclave" status, and a new mission, Special Operations.
But we must not become complacent. There's talk of another round of BRAC.
A few weeks ago I attended the Association of Defense Communities conference.
This year the recurring theme was there will be another BRAC.
Defense secretary Leon Panetta gave a passionate speech about the importance of our military and their families. He also stressed the need for effeciency in all levels of the military if we are to take care of our military installations properly.
He did not say an exact year BRAC would happen, but he felt it could be as early as 2015.
In the last four years, since the change of command at Cannon, elected officials, community leaders, and the business community have made efforts to make sure the needs of an expanding military force at Cannon are being met.
Cannon told us quality of life was a critical need to take care of families, so a Quality of Life Committee was created.
Also addressed were infrastructure needs such as new streets, and bonding for future needs. Getting the Ute lake project authorized, appropriations allocated, and moving the project forward has been critical in obtaining a sustainable water supply for our depleting aquifer, a necessity for a growing community like ours.
The Association was clear at the conference: These are exactly the type of things a community like ours needs to be doing. And that gives me confidence we won't be on the next BRAC list.
But we still cannot become complacent.
— Gayla Brumfield Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority chairman