BRAC Implementation Plan on Schedule, Official Says
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2005 The Defense Department expects to have a plan to implement Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations early next year, a DoD official said here Dec. 7.
The 2005 BRAC is the largest, most joint-service-oriented round DoD has ever attempted, Philip Grone, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, said in a Pentagon Channel interview. More than 800 installations across the country from the active, National Guard and Reserve components will be affected, Grone said, and 40 percent of the changes will affect more than one service.
"This is larger than anything we've ever attempted in the past, but it's necessary for the transformation of the armed forces and the transformation of our business practices to set about this broad realignment of American domestic military infrastructure," Grone said.
All the components are planning important mission moves, taking into consideration people, schedules and construction, Grone said. DoD civilian organizations are putting together programs to help civilian employees with transition or potential job placement, he added.
"We're trying to take care of our people," he said. "We're also planning to take care of the mission in terms of the move and planning for the construction to support those moves so that the missions can be transitioned in a seamless way."
The general plans for implementing the BRAC recommendations will be in place by February 2006, Grone said. At that time, DoD will be in a better position to develop detailed implementation plans for each installation, he said.
"All these implementation plans - over 241 of them - all have their own pace, their own schedule and their own cost structure," he said.
DoD already is working with BRAC-affected communities, both those that will be losing an installation and those that will be gaining missions, Grone said. Some communities already are taking measures to prepare themselves for the changes, he said.
One thing that communities need to do and are doing is to organize early and decide what they want the installations in their areas to look like, he said. This proactive approach will help communities that are losing an installation to use that space effectively and will help communities gaining military missions to realign their infrastructure to prepare for incoming forces, he said.
"It's a highly collaborative effort, Grone said. "And in all of these locations, we can't sustain the installations over the long term without the support of the community, which is so critically important to all of our missions."
Another way DoD is stepping forward to help communities is through a community conference, which will be held in the spring, Grone said. This will allow the communities to have dialogue with DoD representatives and with communities that have been affected by BRAC in the past, he said.
"Everyone has a role to play in this important transformational exercise of the department, and we aim to do this in as seamless a way as possible," he said. "We're all one team in this, and I believe that we've got the capacity and certainly the desire and the requirement to do all this in a way that is effective."
By law, all the BRAC recommendations have to be implemented by 2011, Grone said, and there is no reason to think DoD will have a problem meeting that deadline.