2017 Legislative Agenda
Demonstrate Progress Towards Resolving Encroachment in the McChord North Clear Zone
Encroachment within the North Clear Zone (NCZ) contributed to JBLM receiving point deductions in the 2005 Base Realignment & Closure (BRAC) evaluation process. JBLM contributes billions of dollars to the state economy annually. JBLM is the largest employer in Pierce County and second largest in the state. Civilian activity within NCZ property presents a public safety issue for military operations and civilians alike.
- Resolving encroachment is a shared responsibility between Federal, State, and local authorities.
- The strategy requires a team of partners working together to align their authorities and resources.
- The strategy must continue to accept risk while employing incremental funding over time.
- The plan recommends interested agencies act strategically and make efficient use of financial resources in minimizing risk.
- SSMCP seeks $5M in State funding to begin acquiring and relocating businesses in the McChord NCZ.
Fund a Transportation “Corridor Plan” for South Puget Sound
The expanding population in the South Sound has increased the transportation demand on I-5 south of Mounts Road, extending throughout Thurston County. Traffic congestion inhibits regional mobility, encumbers economic prosperity in the region, and is the number one quality of life concern of South Sound residents.
- In the next 7 years, the state will invest $494 million dollars in congestion relief projects through the JBLM section of the I-5 Corridor.
- To maximize this investment, SSMCP requests $5M in State funding to study the long term mobility needs immediately south of these projects, between Mounts Road (exit 116) to 93rd Avenue in Tumwater (exit 99).
- The corridor plan will define existing system deficiencies, project future service levels in the region, perform an
environmental scan, and provide opinions of cost where possible.
SSMCP Policy Positions
Maintain Active State support for Military Affairs in Washington
SSMCP believes in a strong commitment from the State in support of military affairs. Continuing to support the Washington Military Alliance (WMA); recognizing and protecting the economic benefit realized in the State by government and the private sector due to our military’s presence;
Strengthening financial, legislative and political support for military presence in anticipation of future force restructuring or defense contract reductions due to sequestration, Department of Defense budget reductions and/or base realignment and closure (BRAC) rounds
Support agencies and programs that make WA an attractive home for transitioning soldiers.
Direct Compliance with the REAL ID Act
SSMCP encourages Washington State to pass necessary legislation to comply with the Department of Homeland Security REAL ID requirements.
The Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting, for official
purposes, licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards.
WA is one of three states in the nation that did not receive an extension for compliance, meaning WA driver’s licenses are not acceptable forms of identification for Federal agencies.
JBLM is forced to deny entry to approximately 300 persons per week because these individuals do not have REAL ID Act compliant credentials.
JBLM’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs are suffering from decreased revenue jeopardizing support services to Service Members and the small business community struggles to reach on post customers.
The South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP) works to address issues that affect military and civilian communities around Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and to foster outcomes that are mutually beneficial for the South Sound region.
McChord Airfield North Clear Zone Project
The purpose of the North Clear Zone project is to develop a strategy and plan of action to resolve existing land use encroachments in the North Clear Zone of McChord Airfield, JBLM.
SSMCP works to address issues that affect military and civilian communities around JBLM and to foster outcomes that are mutually beneficial for the South Sound region.
As part of this work, SSMCP recently completed the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS). One of the highest-priority recommendations that came out of the JLUS is to research strategies and develop an action plan to bring the North Clear Zone into compliance with Department of Defense guidelines for public and air safety. SSMCP recently hired a team of consultants to assist us in completing this project.
The North Clear Zone project is property—and business—specific. The project analyses of potential strategies and actions that will form an overall action plan and implementation program are technical in nature and specific to the off-base North Clear Zone area only. Existing businesses operating in the North Clear Zone are an important part of the local, regional and State economy. Retention of existing business is a priority for SSMCP and its partners. SSMCP is interested in developing a North Clear Zone Strategy that makes cooperative agreement possible. Resolving encroachment is a shared responsibility between Federal, State, and local authorities and requires a team of partners working together to align their authorities and resources.
SSMCP has identified five main objectives for the North Clear Zone Project:
Ensure public and air safety
Bring use of the North Clear Zone into Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense regulatory compliance
Preserve JBLM “Mission Assurance”
Maintain full operational capacity and capability
Implement the 2015 JBLM Joint Land Use Study (JLUS)
2016 JBLM/Camp Murray Regional Survey
SSMCP collaborated with partners to create the 2016 JBLM/Camp Murray Regional Survey to gain insight on aspects of demographics, statistics and perceptions of Active Duty, Reserve, Guard and civilian personnel.
The South Sound Military & Communities Partnership earlier this year surveyed nearly 3,100 residents who are active-duty military, Reserve, National Guard, Department of Defense civilian employees and veterans to gauge their impressions of the South Sound.
Initial findings show that personnel assigned to or are involved with Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray love the area for its quality of life.
Since 2011, SSMCP surveys of JBLM/Camp Murray employees and local communities continue to reveal valuable information for community leaders and JBLM officials. Survey results over the past five years indicate that the communities surrounding JBLM have formed symbiotic relationships with the military installation. Either would struggle without the other. While JBLM is an interdependent economic component of the South Puget Sound, it is intrinsically linked to the communities and commerce of the region.
Most communities in the South Sound have a large number of JBLM employees forming a JBLM-centric, communities cluster. JBLM’s economic impact on Washington State (No. 2 employer in WA) and the South Puget Sound region (No. 1 employer in Pierce County) highlight the need for critical military-community support for JBLM. In addition to the economic value of JBLM, its employees create demands on community-based social systems such as: housing, social services, public education, healthcare, transportation, and business development. This year’s survey touches on all these social systems gathering data from a wider range of participants than in previous surveys.
The analysis for past surveys centered solely on active duty Service Members. SSMCP Stakeholders wanted to track trends in living locations for JBLM employees across the region. SSMCP broadened the scope of this year’s survey to all JBLM employees. DOD civilians and contractors make-up a large percentage of the permanent JBLM workforce and tend to remain in the South Sound region longer than active duty military. Data for the survey was collected between May and June 2016. There were 3,061 respondents to the 2016 survey.
Past surveys found on average 70-72 percent of Active Duty respondents lived off JBLM. The responses regarding home ownership or renting are a reversal from the last survey in 2013 when 60 percent rented and 40 percent owned their home. This year 60 percent own and 40 percent rent and 87.5 percent live off-base. Survey results reveal some of the reasons why housing choice follows this pattern.
Off-base housing choice may also contribute to the continued negative perceptions about JBLM traffic congestion. The No. 1 complaint for those living in the South Sound is traffic congestion with 65 percent of respondents noting this as the major negative factor.
Other Fast Facts:
- Nearly 80 percent feel the education system provides adequate education to children in contrast with 2013 findings which revealed a higher 90 percent satisfaction rate.
- AAFES retail shopping appears to be in a rapid decline over the past 3 years.
- The two most heavily used gates, Madigan and Steilacoom-DuPont, account for 40 percent of the traffic entering JBLM.
- This year, 59 percent of active duty respondents plan to transition to civilian careers opposed to the 2013 findings that 30 percent were planning to transition out of military service.
SSMCP is directing its information gathering outside of the borders of the military base this year with the SSMCP Community & Business Survey. SSMCP will partner with a consulting firm to gather useful business and community information on interactions with, and perceptions of, military presence in the South Sound. See the Results
Between 2013 and 2015, the SSMCP coordinated the development of a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM.) Learn More
The SSMCP staffs several Working Groups comprised of regional stakeholders and subject matter experts tasked to (1) Assess the continuing relevance of the 2010 GCP recommendations and (2) Make recommendations to the Steering Committee for ongoing implementation and coordination. Current groups include Healthcare, Social Services, and Economic Development.