In addition to Cyber Command being put on hold, the CBAT mission has now been shut down. The Times reported the decision this morning.
“After a thorough review, we have determined the best way forward for our airmen and the combatant commanders is to optimize our existing training venues,” says Vicki Stein, current operations spokeswoman for the office of the Secretary of the Air Force. “Therefore, a new training venue is not required.”Barksdale had been one of three finalists for the proposed training mission, along with Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and Arnold Air Force Base in Tenneessee.
In April we wrote:
On top of the announcement that the decision on CBAT (Common Battlefield Airmen Training) has been delayed until this fall, The Air Force also says that a decision on cyber command has been pushed forward until fall of 2009. Barksdale is one of the bases being considered for CBAT.The Air Force also announced that localities shouldn't invest large sums for infrastructure in anticipation of landing Cyber Command. This would appear to be aimed at Louisiana, where a total of $107,000,000 has been committed for just such projects. The governors of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Virginia all received letters from Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne notifying them of the decision. The $107,000,000 was committed with the idea that the returns from thousands of support jobs would make it a good investment. Since the Air Force has announced that this will be a virtual command, this could still pan out to some degree. Although this does call into question the judgment of some local leaders who insisted that Cyber Command was 'a done deal', they still could take a realistic approach to see that the investment pays off. Perhaps they can expand the vision to include other training that would attract welcome industry to the area. The investment doesn't have to be lost; indeed, they may find that they have done the right thing for the wrong reasons.
Why are our local leaders still insisting that everything is hunky dory as they proceed to spend $100,000,000 on the Cyber Innovation Center. What good will this do if the training they provide sends people out of state to use their skills.
Local government, rather than chugging along looking at all the signs with their rose-colored glasses, should get off their collective butts and change the mission and use of these facilities.