In this ever-changing world, it’s more important than ever that our top-notch military continues to receive the resources needed to serve and protect our country.Max Baucus

The California Military Council, constituted last spring by Governor Brown to help preserve and strengthen California defense complex, which is vitally important to American’s security and the state’s economy, could be winding down.  We hope that is not the case, as the Military Council’s mission is one that should be sustained over the years to come.

The Governor was right on when he created the Military Council and filled it with some of the best and brightest leaders in our state – a Council which, over this last year, has been the conduit to the Governor on all things military. Comprised of retired military brass, business and community leaders and legislators from both sides of the aisle, the Council, led by the Honorable Ellen Tauscher, has underscored the major contributions that California’s people power and military infrastructure are making to our national security and to our economy in today’s world.  And, since California is the gateway to the Pacific theater, the state’s defense community is well positioned to prepare America for the threats of the future.  But that is not a given.

The call for decreased military spending potentially impacts not only preparedness, but also hundreds of thousands of military-related jobs in California.   Although Congress has approved a spending measure that reverses some of the steep sequester cuts impacting the military, triggered in 2013 and set to slice deeper in 2014, spending cuts remain deep.   Therefore, the importance of the Military Council’s mission of protecting California’s military bases and operations amidst ongoing Department of Defense budget cuts cannot be overstated. Compounding the challenge is the potential of another round of Base Retention & Closure (BRAC) in the future, which some observers say will not be a question of “if” but  of “when”.

The Military Council has taken seriously the Governor’s directive to help expand defense industry jobs and investment in California as federal priorities shift to cyber security and new military technology. This is a task that requires ingenuity and true grit and sufficient time to make progress.

For all these reasons, the work of the Military Council should be extended well beyond its initial one-year authorization.  An ongoing Council will provide the focus needed to confront the challenges that affect the security of this state and the nation and the state’s economy – both in the near term and over the months and years that lie ahead.