The story of how the CMB Regional Center came to be must begin with a little background on the recent history of military bases in the state of California.
Due in part to its size and coastal location, California hosts more military bases and personnel than any U.S. state. Entire communities, containing hundreds of thousands of people—civilian and military alike—center around these bases, without which they could easily collapse. That’s why California had so much to lose when, in 1988—based on the need to reduce government spending and make the military leaner and more efficient—the U.S. Department of Defense began the process of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). Following an investigation, the Department of Defense planned to release a list of military bases to be closed or “realigned”—meaning that they would be adapted to different purpose.
To this day, there have been five rounds of closures: in 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 2005. In the first four rounds, California suffered far more losses than any other state. In fact, California’s loss of jobs and revenue was greater than all other states put together. Twenty-nine major bases were forced to close, taking with them more than 187,000 jobs and an estimated $9.6 billion in annual revenue. Of all the bases selected for closure in the United States, 25% were in California. The decision to heavily target California’s bases came as a shock. Wave after wave of closures was economically disastrous for some parts of California, and negatively impacted the state’s overall economy. California was forced to begin the slow and expensive process of converting each of its closed bases to new uses, hoping to breath life into the communities that found themselves without their single greatest source of social, cultural and economic support.
As I often explain to my clients, at the heart of any EB-5 regional center is a need for investment, and the BRAC process created a profound need for investment in and around California’s closed military bases. That’s why, in 1997, Patrick F. Hogan—a highly successful investor, business manager, and entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience—founded CMB Export LLC with the goal of attracting foreign investment under the EB-5 program. CMB, which stands for “ California Military Bases,” was awarded Regional Center status in early 1997, which was reaffirmed ten years later in 2007.