Local officials in San Bernardino, Calif., do not believe that redevelopment efforts underway will restore all the 10,000 jobs lost when the former Norton Air Force Base closed in 1994, after landing on the 1988 BRAC hit list. The area has suffered “a state of economic malaise” that continues today despite the addition, over the past five years, of some 2,000 jobs, reports Josh Brown of The Press-Enterprise. Lorna Kenney, who worked at Norton for 24 years, told the newspaper that one reason is that the new jobs call for far less skill than before, when Norton employed highly paid scientists and engineers, as well as Air Force personnel. Officials do expect to see more warehouse-type operations, bringing another 2,000 or so jobs, and to add to the 400 skilled maintenance jobs at the San Bernardino airport on the former base. And, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) tells P-E, “At this moment, we are right on the edges of that secondary economic explosion.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.