States Increasingly on the Hook to Keep Military Bases Open

Analysts Say States Are Throwing Their Money Away

Of those government functions which are exclusively meant to be done at a Federal level in the United States, one of the most obvious is the military. The Pentagon, after all, receives in excess of $600 billion in federal dollars annually, dramatically more than any other military on the planet.

That’s not stopping individual US states from throwing growing amounts of money at them as well, however, with many states looking to bribe their way out of future base closures by bankrolling upkeep on the bases, and in some cases significant upgrades.

The schemes started cropping up in 2009, when the military started shifting money out of their construction budgets and started pushing Congress to allow them to close military bases that they neither need nor want. Congress has opposed the closures, but states seem to believe they’re in a bidding war for keeping bases.

States defend the expenditures on the grounds that military bases generate considerable commercial activity, though they are also in some cases spending hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading bases that, ultimately, the Pentagon may not want anyhow.

With states facing budget crunches, many are trying to buy the continued presence of economically important sites, but in the case of Pentagon bases analysts see them throwing their money away, as the upgrades they’re buying are unlikely to have more than a marginal impact on base closure decisions anyhow, and may just leave them with shiny, new boarded up bases.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of