In his June 13 commentary, George Goldsmith writes that Fort Jackson’s future is not necessarily secure even if there isn’t another base realignment commission. In view of that, it may be well to expand its uses.
It may be that Fort Jackson, like Fort Belvoir or Fort Meade, could become a federal center with other federal agencies on the installation. Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio has leased no-longer-needed historic buildings to civilian developers for commercial use; there is considerable land on Fort Jackson that is not needed for training that could thus be leased out.
Civilian companies with security needs would welcome the opportunity to locate on a military installation; generally these are high-wage employment opportunities. Columbia is attractive to companies that seek to relocate or expand because of the climate, very affordable housing and relatively low cost of living. Evidence of that is that more than 20,000 military retirees call Columbia home as well as thousands of civilian retirees.
The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Military Bases Task Force need to explore other avenues as well, while continuing to keep the military mission paramount.
Col., U.S. Army (retired)