Monday, August 2, 2010

25,000 Work At KAFB, Not 40,000

Today political blogger Joe Monahan quoted employee numbers for Kirtland Air Force Base, numbers he said came from “a real estate newsletter.” The unidentified newsletter claimed, “In addition to the 4,800 military personnel employed at Kirtland Air Force Base, the facility employs another 35,690 civilian employees and contractors, including the 8,400 working for Sandia National Laboratories.”

The figures are wrong. Total employment on the base, not by the base (see below), is about 25,000. That’s a lot, to be sure, but the not roughly 40,000 claimed by the newsletter.

The Kirtland Partnership Committee ( says, “More than 19,000 civilian scientists and technicians, both government and contractor, as well as approximately 5,000 active-duty military and about 1,000 National Guard and reservists work at Kirtland AFB.”

The committee, the local Kirtland advocacy group, got the figures from Kirtland.

Those 19,000 folks include Sandia National Laboratories. For Sandia, 8,168 is the official FY 09 employment number. Further, that Sandia number should include the 850 working at Sandia’s Livermore, California, operation. I suspect that the 8,168 figure also includes Sandia’s Hawaii rocket launch site and its four other offices, none of them in Albuquerque. So, doing my own math, Sandia’s employment in Albuquerque appears to be perhaps 7,200, probably less.

Monahan’s source is also wrong to say “the facility employs” people. It might, but only a few. The employment is done by the more than 100 “mission partners” as Kirtland calls them.

The point here is that Kirtland is not one thing. It is the more than 100 organizations. If one leaves, 99 (or so) remain. The 100 tend to do science that is related to national defense. But there are other missions such as training special forces. Even the U.S. Geological Service has an office on Kirtland.

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