WIT Press

Learning From Experience: Defence Disposals In The UK Contrasted With Sustainable Redevelopment In Four US East Coast Navy Yards


Free (open access)





Page Range

243 - 253




573 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


C. M. Clark


Modern war is now conducted remotely – via unmanned military drones, robots and chemical weapons; troops can be moved into battle rapidly from advanced positions. These developments in attack and defence technology render many facilities in fixed positions – navy bases, garrisons, forts, airbases, training grounds – increasingly redundant. Many governments are disposing of these surplus defence sites, some of them historic, but the processes and the outcomes vary enormously from country to country. In the UK large swathes of defence land are earmarked for sale in the near future; the Ministry of Defence is under increasing pressure to rationalise its holdings and save public money. The United States Government is considering selling off many more of its publicly owned assets in the face of prolonged recession. Although the closure of military sites is happening all over the world, transfers of learning from the accumulating experience of post-defence reconstruction, both within and between countries has at best been sporadic. This conference is one of the first to examine the complex and particular challenges to land reuse thrown up by reductions in defence budgets. Planned disposals offer a unique opportunity to provide long-term benefits to local communities whose economies are affected by losses of defence related employment, but they do not always result in such outcomes. Examples of good practice in this paper are drawn from post defence experience in navy bases on the east coast of America, complementing the paper on Brooklyn Navy Yard. It is apposite to examine how former defence sites are faring in different countries in terms of land use and financial viability, and what local communities are


defence disposals, navy yards, governance, innovation