The Department of Defense recommended shutting down 33 of 318 major military bases across the country in a long-anticipated announcement that serves as the first step in the base realignment and closure process. Furthermore, the move is expected to save the federal government $48.8 billion over 20 years.
The proposal calls for a shift of U.S. forces that would result in a net loss of 29,005 military and civilian jobs at domestic installations. Overall, the plan calls for pulling 218,570 military and civilian positions out of some U.S. bases while adding 189,565 positions to others.
The list is only the recommendations made by DOD. The list will now go to the nine-member BRAC commission, whose members will review the recommendations, travel to the installations and discuss potential closings and realignments with community leaders.
The commission will then submit its report to President Bush in the fall. The president must approve the recommendations before they can be implemented. The timeline for BRAC is as follows:
– The commission will forward its report on the recommendations to the president by Sept. 8, 2005.
– The president will have until Sept. 23, 2005, to accept or reject the recommendations in their entirety.
– If accepted, Congress will have 45 legislative days to reject the recommendations in their entirety or they become binding on the department.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that the purpose of the BRAC is not only to eliminate redundancy and duplication while reducing expenses – but also to allow the U.S. military to reorder itself to face new threats in the 21st century.
"In 1961, President Kennedy took office and found a U.S. defense establishment that was still largely arranged to re-fight World War II," Rumsfeld said. "He ordered an extensive consolidation of bases to meet the challenges of the Cold War."
DoD finds itself in the same situation. The department is using the BRAC round to change an infrastructure more attuned to the Cold War to meet "the new demands of war against extremists and other evolving 21st century challenges," Rumsfeld said.
The secretary emphasized that the prime factor in each BRAC recommendation is an assessment of an installation’s underlying military value. "In a time of war, whenever we can find ways to increase support for military needs to help the warfighters, we should do no less," he said. Previous BRAC rounds – in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 – eliminated 21 percent of excess U.S. military infrastructure, and reallocated many billions of dollars to pressing military needs.
Web Site Helps Civilian Workers
DoD civilian employee assistance officials are prepared to help employees affected by BRAC continue their DoD careers, find jobs with other federal agencies or pursue other available options. Defense officials have updated the BRAC Transition web site to provide the latest information on DoD and other federal transition assistance programs, and answers to BRAC-related questions.
Resources Available For Communities On 2005 BRAC List
DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment helps communities impacted by defense program changes, including base closures or realignments, base expansions, and contract or program cancellations. Defense officials help community officials help themselves assess economic hardships, identify and evaluate alternative courses of action and resource requirements, and prepare an adjustment strategy or action plan. OEA is DoD’s primary source for assisting communities that are adversely impacted by Defense program changes.
How Did Your Community Fair? BRAC 2005 Closure and Realignment Impacts by State
The impact by state and installation of the proposed BRAC is available here as a pdf document.
Detailed BRAC Plan Available
The detailed BRAC recommendations are located here.
Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47