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FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Don Carr ()
Date: June 07, 2008 03:30PM

Recently a colleague and I visited with the editorial board of one of the region's newspapers. Our main purpose was to provide background on BRAC at Fort Belvoir to help them understand the issues as they continue to cover the post in the various editions of their papers. Owing to recent media coverage, most of our discussion centered around the schools issue, as well as questions about 6,200 DOD jobs covered in BRAC Recommendation #133, part of the total 19,300 jobs being moved to Fort Belvoir.

We began with discussion of the many ideas over the years for Fort Belvoir’s development, even pre-BRAC, in terms of what various elected and military leaders for nearly 20 years have seen as the best use of the post’s land and facilities. The editors seemed especially interested in the fact that what Fort Belvoir will become under BRAC 2005 realignment is really not any different from those long-held visions: that Fort Belvoir can be home to a great many agencies presently scattered in leased space “around the beltway,” saving the taxpayer millions in federal dollars now used to pay rent. BRAC 2005 actually formalizes that thinking, and stipulates that Fort Belvoir is to become the “major support platform” for military leadership in the region. Indeed, since the Army moved its Engineer center and school from Fort Belvoir in 1989 under previous BRAC legislation, the post has already been transformed into a major administrative, logistical and intelligence center. BRAC 2005 adds such functions to the post, promising even more efficient use of public resources entrusted to the DOD for providing national security.

We emphasized that more than 95 percent of the people in the incoming jobs are already in the region. BRAC 133 best illustrate that. We pointed to an error in one recent article regarding extension of leases for rented space these agencies presently occupy in Crystal City, Reston and elsewhere around the beltway. We explained that BRAC 133 is part of the Headquarters and Support Activities section of the BRAC Commission’s Final Report. We explained how ONE of the agencies is the Washington Headquarters Service, whose work includes being “landlord” for the other DOD agencies. We explained that part of WHS’ mission includes being lead manager, or “executor,” to get the 6,200 jobs – including their own of a little over 1,000 – moved to Fort Belvoir. Since the article, we have taken query from other media and the public about whether the lease extensions mean the BRAC 133 move has been delayed. No. The leases were renewed simply because they were about to expire. The leases cover agencies beyond those of BRAC 133. These other agencies will stay put or go elsewhere after the BRAC 133 jobs move to Fort Belvoir.

We discussed the schools issue and last year’s BRAC impact study by the Workforce Integration Board. There are those who believe the Army changed its projected number of students downward based on the WIB study. That isn’t so, of course. The WIB report’s release last summer was coincidental to release of the Army’s Final Environmental Impact Study. No one at Fort Belvoir or at Army even knew about the WIB study until it hit the streets. There is no basis to the idea that the WIB study prompted Army to lower its school figure from what was in the Draft EIS (3,258). In fact, that number carried forward because it is tied to the number of jobs moving to Belvoir. Indeed, the reduced projection in the FEIS is just more than five times greater than what the WIB study projects. While WIB projects “about 50 students” coming into Fairfax County with BRAC, the FEIS suggests 267, demonstrating the two reports aren’t related.

What’s different in the FEIS is the more complete analysis and discussion of 14,500 DOD jobs BRAC 2005 takes completely from this region to Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, and elsewhere. It also describes the extent to which nearly all of the 19,300 jobs moving to Fort Belvoir are filled by people who already live here, whose school children are already enrolled here. We described for the editorial board Dr Jack Dale’s “Where will they live?” point in which he is on record saying that, to know what school infrastructure is needed, Fairfax County Public Schools and the school board are largely dependent on local government’s planning & zoning decisions on where houses will be built. One of the editors commented that she understands the issue, considering that she lives in Columbia, Md., and commutes to work in Reston every day. I could only smile, realizing her realization!

I did express my own dismay over how there are those who hang onto the 3,258 from the DRAFT study released in the Spring of 2007 – reinforcing the credibility of that number every time they use it – and yet, they completely discount any of the follow-on work. So MUCH of that work was prompted by community response to the draft which helped the Army realize it’s shortcoming in the first place. Yet many continue to ignore the later work. Indeed, just this week, one media account quoted one official saying, “the school board and staff largely distrust the accuracy of the Army’s figures ...,” an absolutely stunning point when you consider that the 3,258 number itself is an ARMY figure! I asked the editorial board to consider the question, “How is only that number credible, but not the more precise, additional data?”

The board asked us questions like, “What about the contractors that will move here?” and “What about new employees that come later when the current employees retire or move on?” To the former, we answered we have no real visibility on what commercial businesses may or may not decide to do. I said I can only assume that would be a good thing for the region’s tax base and plans of the community and its leadership for the region’s revitalization. To the latter, we said that, in the National Capital Region – the seat of the federal government – the workforce ebbs and flows continually and often dramatically. That isn’t driven at all by BRAC, nor is it even particularly unique to DOD or the military installations here. Federal employment practice often means replacements are hired from outside the region, and move here with their kids and cars. But, that’s true whether their job is at the Department of Justice or Department of Defense, in Crystal City or at Fort Belvoir.

The editorial board meeting ended with questions about proposed legislation that would delay the BRAC realignment of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and construction of the new hospital at Fort Belvoir. We said we can't speak to that, since the legislation is only in draft. Our work continues, to include construction of the hospital. A reporter asked whether we would put people in trailers if the hospital and other new buildings aren’t finished on time. I told him the buildings will be up. He said people keep telling him there is no penalty if we don’t finish by September 2011. To speak to that would be hypothetical, I told him, because, again, the point is we will finish on time. That’s the law.

I entitled this note, "FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story." I hope the readers of this Forum also find it useful. If you have any questions, please post them here, or send them to me privately at donald.carr@conus.army.mil.

Don Carr
Director of Public Affairs
Fort Belvoir



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2008 03:39PM by Don Carr.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: 4wheeler ()
Date: June 08, 2008 08:26AM

and we need to know this because????????????????????????

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: taxpayer ()
Date: June 08, 2008 09:43AM

4wheeler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> and we need to know this
> because????????????????????????

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dan Storck and his cronies have conveniently mixed the BRAC issue with school attendance areas and capacity issues. People in the western Silverbrook areas don't want to go to Lake Braddock. Lake Braddock has significant space at the high school but not the middle school. It does have middle school GT center students from South County Secondary School.

Storck might sue the Army to get money for keeping specfic HOA's at SOCO.

http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/news/2008/jun/05/schools-seek-relief/

People living in Lorton- the old prison location were recently sent to Hayfield.
BRAC is an excuse to build SOCO middle school.

How much new housing was added on the Fort in the last 10 years? How much is planned and what is the split in types of housing? Any increase in residential on-base housing due to BRAC?

Fort Belvoir Elementary is overcrowded and projected to be more so and those kids go to Whitman and Mount Vernon. Whitman isn't in it's own attendance area and is smaller than Mount Vernon proportionally. They should be a 2:1 ratio.

Fairfax County also owns the school site on Route 1 near Fort Belvoir that is currently leased to the Islamic Saudi Academy for about 2 million a year. It's a 1 or 2 year lease and was just renewed. Mount Vernon is as always extremely undercapacity. Both publicly owned sites look like BRAC safety valves to me.

FX politicians need money to keep and expand the current South County boundaries . Look at the 2 million that was supposed to be dedicated to BRAC-I guess nobody moving due to BRAC would buy a house not within confines of SOCO:
http://www.fcps.edu/westspringfieldhs/ptsa/yr07-08/Feb2008Min.pdf

" Nancy asked Liz about BRAC funding, Liz clarified that the money is only for Mt. Vernon/Ft. Belvoir area. Liz will recheck this to make sure. $2M will go to South County for planning. Another amendment that was proposed was to put some County services in new South County Middle School so some of the cost would come from the County and not just FCPS."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


What is the Army relocation policy? Is it going to pay real estate commission, closing costs, moving expenses, for people to go from 1 residence to another ? If they pay for moves from residences in places like Falls Church or Annandale or DC or Vienna to new BRAC sites I would be very surprised.

That would be a whole other issue that places a burden on taxpayers all over this country. What's the miles that trigger a publicly funded move?

There are a lot of nice areas in Mount Vernon- Alexandria where people have been aging in place much like Arlington, Mclean, and DC. Eventually they might turn over to those getting employment in BRAC locations as people retire.

FX is looking for cash. Reality: The Army v FX Station HOA's along with a cast of legacy building politicians.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Don Carr ()
Date: June 08, 2008 12:02PM

Taxpayer, thanks for the comments. I would like to make clear a couple things about housing on post. It will surprise some to realize there has been no additional housing added to Fort Belvoir since the 444 units of Woodlawn Village (off Pole Road) were completed in 1981. In 2002, when our housing privatization initiative to replace or restore the homes got underway, there were 2,070 units. That is the number of units there will be when the work is completed in 2011. No new homes are being added. BRAC does not bring any requirement for more homes. Many of the uniformed personnel assigned to the agencies moving to Belvoir already live in Belvoir homes. A number of others who live at Belvoir now will leave the area with those agencies being moved out of state (such as the Human Resources Command in Alexandria, and the Installation Management Command and Defense Finance & Accounting Service in Crystal City), making room for more of the locally based military people who either don’t live on post now, or who would be reassigned to the post in the future.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Concerned ()
Date: June 08, 2008 02:47PM

Mr. Carr

It seems to me that the Fairfax County BOS and the FCPS school board care more about illegal aliens then our military people. In fact, they seem anti military.

What say you.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Vince(1) ()
Date: June 08, 2008 03:14PM

I am pretty sure Mr Carr will avoid answering myour questions (at least if he cant say anyhthing good in response). So..please provide some details on what you consider the anti-military stance of the FCPS. Are you or have you been in the military?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2008 03:14PM by Vince(1).

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Concerned ()
Date: June 08, 2008 03:54PM

Vince(1) Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am pretty sure Mr Carr will avoid answering
> myour questions (at least if he cant say anyhthing
> good in response). So..please provide some
> details on what you consider the anti-military
> stance of the FCPS. Are you or have you been in
> the military?

No military. If the SB wants to sue the military due to costs, then they need to sue the illegals first due to their overall costs to the taxpayers of Fairfax.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: TheMeeper ()
Date: June 08, 2008 04:13PM

Concerned Wrote:
> then they need to sue the illegals first due to their overall costs to the taxpayers of Fairfax.

Yeah, filing a completely frivolous and unwinnable lawsuit would be the best course of action here. Good point, I'm sure their lawyers will be all over that brilliant idea. In times like these, it's always best to do things that make absolutely no sense.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: DeathByCop ()
Date: June 08, 2008 04:34PM

It's almost as retarded as the VA. republicans suing Kaine saying he usurped the va. constitution by transferring the dulles toll road to the airport authority w/ o going through the General Assembly. They are against regional transportation authorities in dense areas like nova and Hampton Roads, because they don't want a bunch of tax dollars staying in nova and being used for the Tysons metro.

TheMeeper Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Concerned Wrote:
> > then they need to sue the illegals first due to
> their overall costs to the taxpayers of Fairfax.
>
> Yeah, filing a completely frivolous and unwinnable
> lawsuit would be the best course of action here.
> Good point, I'm sure their lawyers will be all
> over that brilliant idea. In times like these,
> it's always best to do things that make absolutely
> no sense.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: TheMeeper ()
Date: June 08, 2008 04:47PM

DeathByCop Wrote:
>> It's almost as retarded as the VA. republicans suing Kaine saying he usurped the va. constitution

Well at least they are suing a distinct, identifiable individual, rather than suing some nebulous group of people, as the genius above has suggested.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: we owe an apology ()
Date: June 09, 2008 02:40PM

Mr Carr and all the men and women who serve this country at Ft Belvoir-

Thanks you for your service and dedication to our country and to our community. Thank you for being a wonderful neighbor and protector of us.

Having said that, I am disgusted beyond belief as to your treatment by Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public School officials. You have been completely honest and professional in your estimates of any impacts from BRAC. It is a work in progress. Your office has been forthcoming with any and all information regarding this base realignment. The projected number of new students to this region can only be estimated obviously, given all of the variables. FCPS has a terrible reputation for student population estimates and they are in no position to criticize the Army for any changes in numbers. The US Army has no incentive or motivation to mislead the public.

Enough is enough with these attacks. Taxpayers were asked to grant FCPS $2 million dollars for BRAC planning so that we can ensure that any children coming into this area will be properly cared for. Dealing with overcrowded schools in this immediate area WHERE THERE ARE NO ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS, should be our primary concern. Placing more trailers at Ft Belvoir Elementary School is not the right thing to do. Transferring this taxpayer granted $2 million away from BRAC to this middle school is immoral. It is the ultimate betrayal of the public trust.

Dan Storck, Liz Bradsher, Gerry Hyland, Dave Albo and any other crooked politician who wants to continue their unscrupulous acts at attempting to mislead the public in order to get this school built, better think very hard about their political future. You have a responsibility to 165,000 students and one million residents of this county. To continue to act on behalf of a few hundred is obscene. We are in a recession. You have an obligation to be prudent with every dollar that the taxpayer gives you.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: It could be worse ()
Date: June 09, 2008 03:22PM

Would Fairfax County be happy if Belvoir closed up shop and took all their taxpayers with them to another state?

Holy cow. Most states and/or counties would be thrilled to have a partner like Belvoir in their back yard. If this is how Fairfax County courts businesses to the state we are in trouble.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: coffin ()
Date: June 09, 2008 07:28PM

It could be worse Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Would Fairfax County be happy if Belvoir closed up
> shop and took all their taxpayers with them to
> another state?
>
> Holy cow. Most states and/or counties would be
> thrilled to have a partner like Belvoir in their
> back yard. If this is how Fairfax County courts
> businesses to the state we are in trouble.


Taxpayers on Belvoir? You could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of Belvoir military personnel that claim Virginia as their home of record.

They don't vote here either...and they most certainly do not make political contributions...that's why the villains on the School Board don't give a shit about Ft Belvoir Elementary.

That's how politics works! If Bradsher's constituents/contributors want an unnecessary SOCO middle school...it's her job to try to deliver it. See?

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: FCPS gets paid ()
Date: June 10, 2008 11:06AM

Even if the Belvoir folks don't claim VA as their home-doesn't FCPS get reimbursed by the feds for these kids. Every year I get a form to fill out from FCPS that asks if I work for the US govt/army.

These people deserve better treatment by local officials.

I am grateful for Don Carr coming forward and providing the FACTS about BRAC. We continue to get misinformation and incorrect facts from our own public servants.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Paul ()
Date: June 10, 2008 11:46AM

It is funny Fairfax is so disturbed my military dependents coming into Fairfax. Yet they want to continue creating "affordable housing" AKA public housing projects. I suppose difference is that military doesn't vote in local elections whereas the public housing clients will be loyal Dem voters.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: FCPS is a joke ()
Date: June 10, 2008 01:11PM

Now these idiot school board members want to sue the army??? What next??

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Don Carr ()
Date: June 12, 2008 06:46AM

I was asked in an e-mail whether the editorial board raised the transportation issue. Not really. Indeed, as the number-one BRAC issue, that would take a whole 'nuther two-hour meeting at least. Suffice it to say that transportation concerns shared by the Army's planners and community officials at local, state and federal level are at the basis of decisions made on how to spread out the 19,300 jobs. Specifically, 4,300 will go to main post; 8,500 will go to the EPG; and, evaluation continues of three other sites for placement of the remaining 6,200 jobs (those of BRAC 133). As many on the Forum know already, those sites are the GSA site in Springfield,and two commercial sites in Alexandria. A decision on which site to use is expected in September. To comply with BRAC law, whichever site is chosen will have to become part of Fort Belvoir, through transfer of the GSA site to Army, for example, or outright Army purchase of one of the commercial sites. (It's an nteresting aside that should one of the two Alexandria sites be chosen, that would reduce the total number of jobs moving into Fairfax to 12,800.)

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: serves them right ()
Date: June 12, 2008 10:50AM

I hope the Army chooses Alexandria-that will teach Fairfax County a lesson.

If they think they can afford to dump on a good partner like Ft Belvoir-let them learn the hard way. I hear Prince William would love to have all these "BRAC problems" in their district.

Our officials are morons.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: WashingToneLocian ()
Date: June 12, 2008 11:10AM

Sounds like nobody is going to benefit from the Ft. Belvoir re-alignment. Route 1 is going to suck even more. Ft. Belvoir won't have the capacity it needs. Crystal City is going to see its vacancy rates rise.

Not sure how much is being saved by the government, but I'm not sure it is worth it in the end.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: RESton Peace ()
Date: June 14, 2008 09:27AM

Mr Carr,

I hope you will join me in calling for Fort Belvoir to be abandoned, and turned into a dolphin sanctuary. That place is a dump and an eyesore and it needs to be turned into something useful.

Thanks,

rob

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: Sgt Slaughter ()
Date: June 14, 2008 09:30AM

RESton Peace Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Mr Carr,
>
> I hope you will join me in calling for Fort
> Belvoir to be abandoned, and turned into a dolphin
> sanctuary. That place is a dump and an eyesore
> and it needs to be turned into something useful.
>
> Thanks,
>
> rob

Mr Carr:

I hope you will take this time to make sure Rob's Selective Service information is up to date.

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Re: FORT BELVOIR: Helping the media tell the story
Posted by: coffin ()
Date: June 15, 2008 02:02AM

RESton Peace Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Mr Carr,
>
> I hope you will join me in calling for Fort
> Belvoir to be abandoned, and turned into a dolphin
> sanctuary. That place is a dump and an eyesore
> and it needs to be turned into something useful.
>
> Thanks,
>
> rob


Sheesh, I'm agreeing with RESton twice in the same night!

Let's BRAC Belvoir right off the face of the earth! That land is too valuable to use it to house low-life military types! Close Belvoir and leave some desolate base in Podunk, Iowa open that supports an entire community.

We don't need that shit around here.

What's always tickled me is the thought of the (allegedly) most powerful armed forces on earth cowering behind fences on military bases. $500 billion a year we spend on the military, but if an invading army ever marches up Route 1, they will be engaged first by Fairfax County and Virginia State Police....

They should stay in Crystal City and chant "Bring it on!"....or "Mission Accomplished !" or some such shit.

Bulldoze Belvoir NOW!

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