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Indiana Military Bases Could Benefit From BRAC Closures

Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck is trying to change its focus so it remains a key military complex even as the war in Afghanistan draws down.

atterbury soldier

Photo: U.S. Army (flickr)

U.S. Army Pfc. Andrew Mitcham, assigned to 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Indian Army National Guard, prepares to fire an M2.50-caliber machine gun during mobilization training at the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in Edinburgh, Ind., Dec. 14, 2007.

Defense industry watchers say if the federal government closes more military bases, that would actually help some southern Indiana installations.

The key is in the bidding process.

Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck Deputy Commander of Garrison Operations John Silva says although Atterbury and Muscatatuck are about 40 miles from one another, the two bases have always worked together with one common mission.

“Our focus has always been to train traditional guardsmen, Indiana and other states surrounding,” he says. “During the mob-effort though, we have added the mission of preparing soldiers for overseas to be put in harm’s way rather Iraq or Afghanistan.”

As the Afghanistan war winds down, Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck and many other U.S. bases will not need to process as many soldiers. But while action by the federal Base Re-alignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, may threaten many other bases, it could help Indiana’s.

Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs professor Barry Rubin says the military must still provide services. It is just a question of where.

“In fact, BRAC is an opportunity for Atterbury and Muscatatuck and the fact that there are going to be bases around the country that will be closing free up a number of activities that Muscatatuck and Atterbury can bid on and possibly bring to Indiana,” he says.

National Guard officials are changing Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck’s mission. The facility announced a name change in March. It is also dedicating its efforts to emergency response training and testing new military technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles.

Some in Washington have called for another series of BRAC cuts and base closures as soon as 2015.

Emily Wright

Emily, an Indianapolis native, joined WFIU/WTIU in 2013 as Producer of Noon Edition. She studied Telecommunications and Liberal Arts Management at Indiana University.

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