In the wake of a U.S. Department of Defense plan announced earlier this year to reduce federal defense spending by $500 billion over the next decade, Bedford Town Manager Richard Reed said the implications for Hanscom Air Force Base, and in turn the Bedford community, could be numerous.
The Pentagon's request for a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) could result in the closure or consolidation of Hanscom Air Force Base.
"Base activity affects the general economic activity in Bedford," Reed said. "The base closing could mean less business in the community."
More specifically, reduced activity at Hanscom could affect the work of local contractors working on the base, Reed said.
"The base was responsible for the oversight of contracts related to the development of military technology," Reed said. "If there is a cutback that forces contractors to move out of the community, there could be an effect on local business."
While the contracts at Hanscom remain unaffected, Reed said the oversight on the contracts has already been shifted to another base.
"The Air Force’s Electronic Systems Center that oversaw contracts in this area was deactivated and the oversight of its programs and contracts was moved to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio," Reed said.
According to the Electronic Systems Center's (ESC) website, the ESC oversees over 3,800 employees, 75 percent of whom are civilian contractors.
Another effect of reduced activity or closure of Hanscom could be a drop of enrollment at Bedford High School, which supports students from military families stationed at the base, Reed said.
"We currently have 100 students from Hanscom at Bedford High School," Reed said. "One of the primary impacts of the possible closure of the base on the Bedford community would be on the enrollment at the High School."
Bedford will be included in Massachusett's Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force to protect and promote military bases across the state, including Hanscom, Reed said.
The task force was created by Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who visited Hanscom along with Senator John Kerry and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas in March, who embarked on a tour of the Commonwealth's military bases earlier this year.