State Policy Options in Sustaining Military Installations
By Alice Wheet and Jennifer Schultz
At least 1.2 million people currently are serving in the U.S. armed forces, more than 23 million are veterans and more than 250 military installations exist in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. U.S. military operations touch every state in some way, and state legislatures are playing an increasingly substantial role in military issues.
Military installations are facilities that sustain the presence of U.S. forces at home and abroad. Installations located within the United States and their surrounding environments are used to support, train, develop and deploy troops as well as to support maintenance and deployment of weapon systems to meet the nation’s military needs. Installations ensure both productive combat forces and a decent quality of life for military service members and families by providing safe environments, including suitable housing, health care, child care and on-base education. State legislatures have an important role in managing relations between existing military installations and surrounding communities, especially in regard to issues related to military base or mission change, growing local development and incompatible land uses that may threaten the future viability of the military presence.
This report—produced by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) with support from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)—aims to provide state legislatures with an overview of state responsibilities and related policy options concerning military affairs and state and local relationships with military installations. The report is a synthesis of original, in-depth legal and legislative research; interviews with state legislators, legislative staff and other key state officials; and other research. The focus throughout the report is on state-level activities—especially those created through statute, regulation or legislation—to ensure a suitable environment for military installations to carry out their missions and sustain the presence of U.S. forces at home and abroad. Topics covered include:
- Military advisory bodies
- Commander's councils
- Land use planning
- The role of adjutants general
- Grant programs
- Light pollution and noise
- Land conservation
- Notification policies
Full PDF version of Preparing for Duty (72-pages)