Mission shift

North Dakota State Roundup

Published January 1, 2007  | January 2007 issue

A recent study by private consultants suggests the regional economy is still going to take a hit when the Grand Forks Air Force Base assumes a new mission.

Last year, as part of a sweeping package of military base moves nationwide, the Pentagon shifted the mission at Grand Forks from refueling tankers to unmanned aerial vehicles. The transition at the base will be a slow one; tanker squadrons will be deactivated starting in 2008, with the last one slated to leave in late 2010. The arrival of 14 UAVs will not begin until 2009. Since the Pentagon announced the mission shift, different estimates have been made, but all suggest a net loss of personnel.

The new report, released in November by the Concourse Group and National Home Builders Association Research Center, estimates a net loss of about 1,000 military and civilian jobs. The report surveyed military and civilian personnel and estimated that job losses would flood the regional market with residential properties, reduce the number of students by more than 500 and result in the loss of hundreds of indirect jobs that are supported by the base and its personnel.

Ronald A. Wirtz