Governor Jay Nixon’s nominee for military advocate says knowing what national defense budget cuts are possible for Missouri is critical. Joe Driskill says lobbying for the state’s military personnel and needs makes a difference in addressing future budget issues.
“We all know that budgets are being cut and we’re approaching a time when there’s a base realignment and closure commission,” said Driskill. “We need to be very critical in the way we approach the factors that will be considered when those really difficult decisions are made.
If confirmed by the Missouri Senate, Driskill would advocate for things like military personnel, bases and troop levels.
Driskill said the next military base realignment is expected to be announced within the next two years. He said Missouri can’t afford to lose the assets of Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base.
“Every base and every military asset is in danger when there’s a base realignment and closure commission round,” said Driskill.
He said lobbying must begin, in order to protect both installations.
Missouri ranks 12th in the country in national defense spending. Driskill said Missouri has one of the largest National Guards in the country, with about 12,000 personnel.
“The Department of Defense spending in Missouri was about $33 billion during the last year that it was estimated,” said Driskill. “It supported about 162,000 direct and indirect jobs in Missouri. That’s a huge number and it’s an extremely important part of our economy in Missouri.”
Driskill is the executive director of the non-profit Leonard Wood Institute, which partners with governments and organizations through projects at Fort Leonard Wood. He is also the director of the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership at Fort Leonard Wood. The Partnership aims to implement sustainability strategies for the Fort Leonard Wood region.
In addition to his work with the Institute and the Partnership, Driskill also serves on the board of directors of the Association of Defense Communities (ADC). The ADC is a national organization that unites the diverse interests of communities, state governments, the private sector and all services of the military on issues of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), community-military partnerships, mission growth and sustainment, and support for military families and veterans.