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The Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is responsible for managing and directing efforts to assist communities impacted by Defense program changes, including base closures, base expansions, and contract or program cancellations, and for coordinating involvement of other federal agencies in the process. 


OEA was established during President Kennedy’s administration, out of the office of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, to stem adverse impact on jobs and local economies after a government cost-reduction program closed a large number of military bases.


What it Does  

OEA was set up to help alleviate as many negative effects as possible on people living in communities where Defense program changes occur, from military bases being shut down, or new ones opened, to defense contracts getting cancelled.
The office works to:
  • Provide information, leadership and follow-through.
  • Assess economic hardships.
  • Identify and evaluate courses of action and resources needed, and available, as well as where to pursue them when they’re not.
  • Help find solutions for school overcrowdings, housing scarcity, and inadequate number of jobs for people seeking them.
  • Assist in the wide variety of areas often needing massive overhaul when a base leaves a community.
  • Coordinate involvement of other federal agencies in providing support and services where they’re most equipped, as well as offer technical expertise and grant assistance to state and local governments involved in the transitions.
  • Administer a Joint Land Use Study program, to encourage cooperative land use planning between military installations and the surrounding communities.

Federal Agency Assistance


Where Does the Money Go  

Grants, Frequently Asked Questions



Are Specific Base Closings Necessary?
Army urged to share cost of local BRAC upgrades (by Timothy B. Wheeler, Baltimore Sun)
Base Closings (PBS Online NewsHour)

BRAC Failed Capacity, Financial Goals

(by Lawrence J. Korb, Defense News)


Suggested Reforms  
Congressional Oversight  
Former Directors  

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Table of Contents

Founded: 1961
Annual Budget: $60 million
Employees: 40

Office of Economic Adjustment
O'Brien, Patrick
Patrick J. O’Brien, earned a BA in Urban Affairs and Political Science from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and a Master’s of Science in Public Management and Policy Analysis from the School of Urban Affairs at Carnegie-Mellon University. He began his career as an Assistant Business Developer for the City of Duluth. He received his first experience with the federal government as a Presidential Management intern in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After that, he came to OEA as a project manager, serving on several adjustment efforts, including those at Fort Ord, Loring AFB, Wurtsmith AFB, NTC San Diego, and Cameron Station. He also authored the OEA Community Guide to Base Reuse and other technical resources for communities, as well as leading different Base Realignment and Closure implementation policy reviews. In addition to serving as the leader for a team of project managers who assist economic adjustment efforts, he oversees the Defense Economic Adjustment Program, and he is also Executive Director of the President’s Economic Adjustment Committee, as it was recently updated by Executive Order to assist communities in responding to Defense base closures or realignments, contractor reductions, and base expansions.