Nextgov Editor at Large Bob Brewin had a nice column about how 18 states are vying to become the home of the headquarters for the Air Force Cyber Command. Bob writes that on May 15, William Anderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, sent a letter to the governors, asking them to provide details that will help the service make its decision.
This got me thinking: Why not go one step further, and have the Cyber Command auctioned off to the state who is the highest bidder?
The Air Force could select say the five or so states that closest meet its criteria, and then run an auction among those selected, say to host the Cyber Command for the next 10 years. The winning state could have first right of refusal to continue to support the command for another decade if it so chooses, or decide to let it go back into an open auction.
In many ways, that is what the Air Force is doing now anyway, but because of political sensitivities, it is treading lightly. Let's just cut to the chase, put Cyber Command up for bid, and see which state - Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah or Virginia - forks over the most amount of money for it. Its got to be worth some cold hard cash to one of them.
In fact, maybe Defense needs to put up for auction all its U.S.-based military commands. For instance, let different states start bidding for the privilege of having Air Force fighter wings (like the new F-35), Navy ships, or Army personnel stationed in the state.
Given the strains on the defense budget, this might be one way to reduce it.