The significant growth in the mission of many military bases across the country is placing substantial demands on the capacity and curriculum of the educational systems in their respective states as a large number of students are expected to arrive within a very short time frame. In response, states are employing a host of new education strategies and initiatives that will allow them to meet the needs of military families and the surrounding communities and take full advantage of the economic development that accompanies mission growth. The states predicted to be most affected are Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is in the midst of a major transformation whereby dozens of bases across the country are enhancing their missions, increasing training activities and defense operations, and expanding the number of military and civilian personnel. The growth in military personnel and federal civilian employees will result in student increases in the surrounding community that may be challenging with respect to scale, timing and scope. Mission growth bases and the surrounding communities will experience growth at a rate not seen since World War II. For instance, Fort Bliss in Texas is expected to grow by at least 300 percent: from 9,000 soldiers and 15,000 family members in 2005 to 38,000 soldiers and 53,000 family members in 2012, 20,000 of whom will be school-age children. Close to 50 percent of military members or DoD civilians have a child. Of those families, the average has 1.6 children. Moreover, most incoming students will arrive by September 2011. Combined, these challenges place a large burden on the affected states to prepare for these students in a relatively short time.