Davis residents optimistic about HAFB future despite proposed cuts

Davis residents optimistic about HAFB future despite proposed cuts

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, File)

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Even though the Pentagon is proposing massive cuts in military spending, people living around Hill Air Force Base say they still feel a sense of optimism about the future of the base.

When describing his proposed cuts, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was quoted as saying the U.S. military force would still be able to respond to threats by “maintaining its technological edge over all potential adversaries.”

With that said, some business leaders in Davis County said they believe the future of the base is pretty strong.

“It’s the higher end jobs that we’re finding out there at Hill Air Force Base,” said Davis Chamber of Commerce President Jim Smith.

Housing and maintaining of the new F-35 Lightning aircraft will go a long way to keep money flowing into the base, Smith said. Plus, there is a lot of software development for the most modern weapons.

“They also have intercontinental missiles that we maintain here, and of course, (we’re in close) proximity to the test and training range to the west of us in the desert,” he said.

But they can’t take anything for granted — the county has done a lot to provide services the military might cut, he added.

“For example, they’ve closed a lot of their temporary housing and hotels,” Smith said. “We’ve offloaded those to local hotels right around the base.”

Smith said it’s hard to put a specific dollar amount on the economic impact the base has on Davis County but it definitely has a large one. There are between 21,000 and 25,000 jobs on the base, depending on the contracts officials there can secure.

“Weber State University graduates, who come out of their engineering program … they can basically hire all of them and absorb that into Hill Air Force Base,” he said.

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