With the prospect of a new round of base closures looming, leaders in northeastern Alabama have reason to be concerned about the future of Anniston Army Depot, which celebrated its 75th birthday Wednesday.
The depot’s workforce already has dropped by about 2,000 workers since 2012 when the military began to draw down from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, the depot — which refurbishes damaged M1A1 Abrams tanks, other armored vehicles including the Stryker, and various small arms — remains Calhoun County’s largest employer, with more than 3,000 federal and private sector workers, reported the Anniston Star.
At the same time, the depot is the only place where Abrams tanks can be repaired, allowing officials to feel some confidence in the facility’s future.
“We’re the only place in the world that can do some of the work we do,” said Nathan Hill, military liaison for the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce.
Still, officials are striving to position the depot for a BRAC round. Hill and others are working to let the community know what’s at stake if DOD were to launch a new BRAC or impose cuts through other means, according to the story.
Probably the most difficult factor to predict is the military’s long-term need for the depot’s services.
“That’s the kind of thing I don’t even want to try to predict,” said John Mitchell, chairman of Alabama’s Military Stability Foundation.