BRAC '05 to Support DoD Transformation
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2004 The 2005 base realignment and closure initiative will be different from previous rounds in that it will directly contribute to DoD's transformation efforts, a top DoD official said here Oct. 25.
BRACs conducted between 1988 and 1995 closed 97 military bases and realigned 57, Raymond DuBois, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, told attendees at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting here. Officials today estimate the department still carries about 23 percent excess infrastructure.
The 2005 BRAC will be unique in that besides paring no-longer-needed facilities, it will also support transformation goals, thereby making DoD better prepared for combating 21st century threats like global terrorism, DuBois observed.
A key component of 2005 BRAC consideration, he explained, involves weighing an installation's military value in view of how it contributes to and accommodates joint operations. Joint warfighting has proven to be the coin of the realm when confronting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.
In the post-Cold War world, "the U.S. Army must own speed and surprise," DuBois said, noting that multiservice cooperation in the transportation field in recent years has greatly leveraged the Army's combat projection power.
DuBois said the 2005 BRAC is aimed at combining that kind of power, including joint training, at installations that best offer it. Also, he noted, duplication can be reduced by merging military research and laboratory facilities.
Any new base closures would take into account the need to maintain a military "surge" capacity to deal with potential future threats, Dubois emphasized.
Previous BRACs have provided $7 billion in annual savings to DoD since 2001, DuBois recalled. But, he noted, DoD still has $660 billion tied up in property inventory.
The Defense Department needs "to free up that kind of investment capital to support our troops in areas where those resources are needed," he said.
"We have a responsibility to provide the people defending our country with the highest quality training, technology, weapons systems, information and resources available," he said, "to include a well-maintained infrastructure by eliminating the unnecessary capacity."
Final 2005 BRAC recommendations will be presented in the spring.