The tens of thousands of people whose lives and livelihoods are connected to the Naval Submarine Base in Groton can breathe a deep sigh of relief now that there won't be a Base Realignment and Closure process in the immediate future.
But they shouldn't hold their breaths too long, because in all likelihood a renewed effort to shut or shift military bases across the country, which could include Groton's, will be launched as early as next year with the goal of deciding on closures by 2015.
This means state, municipal and business authorities must soon begin mounting a strong defense of the sub base, just as they did in 2005, the last time BRAC surfaced.
Back then, when the Pentagon proposed reassigning Groton's submarines and Navy commands to existing Navy bases in Kings Bay, Ga., and Norfolk, Va., "Team Connecticut" was formed that included the governor, the congressional delegation, a regional Subase Realignment Coalition, chambers of commerce and private citizens. They held rallies, sold "Save the Sub Base" T-shirts, wrote countless letters and elicited support from a wide range of influential people, including former President Jimmy Carter, an ex-submariner.
After months of a steady drumbeat, the consortium persuaded the Pentagon that it was in the nation's best military and financial interests to keep the 687-acre base open.
These arguments make even more sense today, considering potential hostilities involving such nations with deep-water access as Iran, North Korea and Syria.
In addition, since 2005 federal and state and governments have spent more than $150 million on various improvements to the nearly century-old base, and the town of Groton is planning road repairs and land acquisitions that should reinforce the value of keeping it open.
Still, the closing-realignment process is complex and subject to political influences, so it would be a mistake to consider the base is "BRAC-proofed, or there won't be another BRAC or something like it," Groton Town Manager Mark Oefinger warned. "We can't rest on our laurels."
In announcing on Monday that there would be no new round of military base closings next year, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged Congressional opposition influenced his decision.
"But it's an important debate to have and, frankly, it's not going away," he added.
Secretary Panetta did not have to point out that no major political decisions will be made until after the November elections.
The BRAC process, by design, has the potential to become a civil war of sorts, pitting regions of the country against one another depending on their reliances of and alliances with difference defense branches and industries.
Though the Pentagon has been politically savvy in spreading its lucrative contracts around the country, most politicians and voters typically embrace the concept of cutting the military budget - unless, of course, they live in, work in or represent a district that relies heavily on defense spending, such as southeastern Connecticut.
Then, the notion of beating swords (or submarines) into plowshares becomes more nuanced; doves become hawks.
Though the submarine base dodged the BRAC missile in 2005 the threat of closure always hangs, like the proverbial Sword of Damocles, not far above the region's head.
Those determined to provide for our national security, and at the same time preserve the region's economy, realize they can't afford to let their guard down.