Panel Adds Bases For Closure, Realignment Consideration
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 20, 2005 The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission voted to add several military installations to a list for closure consideration during July 19 hearings at the Dirksen Senate Building here.
The previous day, senior Defense Department officials provided testimony before the commission regarding the merits of keeping open various military organizations.
At the start of the July 19 hearing, BRAC Commission Chairman Anthony Principi noted his commission might tab more installations for consideration for closure or realignment.
However, "we are not here today to produce a final list of closures and realignments," Principi said, noting the commission wouldn't submit a complete list of bases affected by this round of BRAC until late August.
Bases the BRAC commission added during the July 19 hearing to the list for consideration to close or realign include:
- Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine
- Navy Broadway Complex, San Diego
- Naval Master Jet Base, Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
- Pope Air Force Base, N.C.
- Galena Airport Forward Operating Location, Alaska
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service facilities located at Buckley Annex, Colo.; Columbus, Ohio; and Indianapolis
- Naval Postgraduate School and Defense Language Institute, Monterey, Calif.
- Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
- Bureau of Navy Medicine, Potomac Annex, Washington, D.C.
- Air Force Medical Command, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
- Tricare Management Activity, Office of the Surgeons General Military Departments, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, all in Virginia.
During the hearing, the commission also voted not to place several installations on the list for possible closure or realignment. For example, commission members voted to exclude the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, the Naval Shipyard in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Moody Air Force Base, Ga., from consideration for closure or realignment under the 2005 BRAC Act.
All bases identified for possible realignment or closure will be reviewed before a final commission vote on all BRAC-identified installations is taken in late August.
On May 13, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted his BRAC recommendations that 33 military installations be closed and 29 realigned out of a total of 318 bases. The additional bases identified by the commission for consideration for closure or realignment, Principi noted, will be added to the secretary's list.
The BRAC commission's additions weren't made to second-guess Rumsfeld's picks, Principi emphasized, but instead demonstrate the commission's efforts to take a broader view of what other bases may be closed or realigned.
"Our deliberations today may add more bases for further consideration -- and consideration only -- not because we have determined that we need to realign or close more bases than the secretary of defense has recommended, but because we want to make sure the best possible closure or realignment choices are made consistent with the criteria established in law," Principi said.
On April 1, President Bush appointed the independent BRAC commission. The commission is obligated to "consider all options" for base closures or realignments, Principi said at the July 19 hearing.
Under the 2005 BRAC Act the principle criteria for keeping bases open, or closing or realigning them, is military value.
The nine-member BRAC commission panel is obligated to send its recommendations to the president by Sept. 8.
The president has until Sept. 23 to accept all recommendations or reject all of them. Congress will have 45 days to accept the president's recommendations or reject them whole. The Defense Department will be obligated to act on all congressionally approved recommendations.