When a 2014 DOD review of military bases set off concerns, local leaders around Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., quickly reacted after four area bases closed nearly 10 years earlier, renewing fears of Dobbins’ closure, according to a Marietta Daily Journal (MDJ) report.
Dobbins’ 2014 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) consolidation never came, but its county’s concerns remain, according to the report.
“Over the years, the runway at Dobbins has become underutilized, leaving the site more vulnerable to closure through BRAC,” or “Base Realignment and Closure,” noted County Community Development Director Jessica Guinn in a Cobb County commissioners meeting agenda item, the MDJ report said.
To help protect Dobbins from another BRAC round, the county board is considering opening the installation’s airstrip for private use, according to the report.
“Finding additional military or non-military operations of the runway will assist in ensuring long term mission sustainment,” County Chairman Mike Boyce wrote Tuesday to Brig. Gen. Richard Kemble, 94th Air Wing Commander at Dobbins.
Georgia’s congressional delegation successfully pushed to remove language from the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) restricting joint use of a base for military and non-military purposes, according to the MDJ report.
The effort allowed the county to vote whether to request a comprehensive evaluation from Kemble, the first step to open Dobbins for joint-use, the report said.
However, the base would not be used for commercial airline service like at Cobb County International Airport or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, according to Dana Johnson, Cobb County Chamber of Commerce executive vice president of economic development.
Private use of Dobbin’s airstrip would be limited to the base’s current flight times: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and daily use is not expected to exceed 30 takeoffs or landings daily, according to the report.
Air Force photo by Brad Fallin