Updated 5:30 p.m.
Nossaman's Washington office has signed on to lobby on behalf of the City of Ridgecrest, Calif., which sits adjacent to a major weapons development and testing site for the United States Navy. The congressional lobbying disclosure paperwork was filed on Tuesday, a day before an announcement by the Department of Defense calling for two rounds of base closures in order to cut costs.
Shelby Hagenauer, a senior policy adviser in Nossaman's public policy practice group, will head up the effort for the city. Previously, Hagenauer has advocated for a range of clients including MasterCard Worldwide and pharmaceutical wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp. Nossaman public policy partner Brent Heberlee is working with Hagenauer on the account.
Although Hagenauer declined to comment on the specific issues she will focus on, a copy of the contract with the city lists "infrastructure and economic development initiatives, military affairs associated with China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station" and other issues identified by Ridgecrest officials as priorities.
Her appointment parallels an announcement made before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who called for two rounds of base realignment and closure (BRAC) procedures in 2013 and 2015, a move he said is necessary to save on infrastructure costs and redirect the department's forces following a decade of war.
The contract, authorized by Ridgecrest City Manager Kurt Wilson Jan. 9, stipulates a $3,500 monthly fee plus expenses and sets no definite termination date. The city council would need to approve additional spending to continue the partnership past August.
Before joining the firm, Hagenauer worked for 11 years on the staffs of Reps. Bill Thomas and Kevin McCarthy, both Republicans from California's 22nd congressional district, which includes Ridgecrest.
"I've spent a great deal of time working with the region in the past, and I appreciate it's unique qualities," she wrote in an email Thursday.
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the main entrance of which sits in Ridgecrest, is home to 85 percent of the Navy's land area for weapons development and testing, covering more than 1.1 million acres with 19,600 square miles of restricted or controlled airspace. Major innovations developed at the site include the Tomahawk and Sidewinder missiles.
The China Lake facility's role in ongoing Naval weapons development and testing was expanded under the direction of the 2005 BRAC commission, which moved to consolidate those efforts at the site. As reported by military news service Defense Industry Daily, the base began roughly $167 million in construction projects following this decision, including a $55 million, 177,000-square-foot laboratory named for the Sidewinder project head William B. McLean.
Other military installations were not so lucky during the 2005 BRAC process, which shuttered nine major sites including Fort McPherson in Georgia and the Naval Air Station Ingleside in Texas.
By Rob Stigile