Fort Carson has served more than a half-century as a versitile location for Army training missions such as this Warrior Leader Course situational exercise. But all of Fort Carson’s assets and missions will face re-evaluation in the next Base Realignment and Closure process when the pressure will be on Colorado Springs to prove its worthiness as a home for multiple military installations.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that will help enhance strategic partnerships between communities and military installations.

House Bill 17-1054 directs the Department of Local Affairs to support cooperative intergovernmental agreements between military installations and local governments, according to a news release issued by the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. The bi-partisan bill is sponsored by Rep. Terri Carver (R-District 20), Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-District 14) and Sen. Nancy Todd (D-District 28).

“Given the national priority that the Department of Defense has placed on community partnerships, we appreciate the state taking this action that will enable local communities such as Fountain and Ellicott to leverage state support in pursuing new and unique partnerships to meet the needs of installations in our region,” said Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC Chief Defense Industry Officer Andy Merritt. “There are a variety of tools available for such partnerships, but they can be complex and time consuming to pursue. State support could be the difference between the success or failure of local efforts to address important needs.”

Merritt, who assisted legislators in the formation of the bill, said it is an innovative step that will help forge stronger partnerships between regional military installations and surrounding communities.

“It is a win-win for both and demonstrates how our state is committed to supporting the military,” Merritt said.

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“This bill is good government and common sense — identifying areas where local communities can partner with military installations in providing needed services more efficiently and at less cost,” said Carver in the release. “Military bases are a critical part of the local community, as we know very well in El Paso County. This bill demonstrates Colorado’s commitment to our military installations as an important economic sector in the state economy.”

The release states that, with the passage of the bill, “local communities could realize significant cost savings through shared support services with military installations and local governments.” Shared services that local governments can provide to military installations would help pay for fixed costs and overhead, while services that local communities can purchase from military installations could come with a reduced cost.

“It’s important that the men and women serving our country in the military know that we appreciate them and that we are here to help in their mission to defend this nation that we are all so privileged to call home,” Nordberg said in the release. “I am glad to have moved significantly closer to sending that positive message to our military while also cutting costs for our state and local governments.”

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Bryan Grossman
Bryan Grossman has lived in Colorado since 1989 and is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has been managing editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal since 2017, and has also held the roles of reporter and digital editor with the Business Journal. Grossman has worked in a print journalism newsroom, on and off, since 2004.