Defense Department Report Cites Need for More Base Cuts
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 24, 2004 The U.S. military still has too many bases and other infrastructure, a senior Defense Department official said here March 23.
DoD's 2005 base realignment and closure report just submitted to Congress estimates the department doesn't need about a quarter of its current overall infrastructure, Raymond F. DuBois, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, told reporters at a Pentagon media roundtable.
"This is exactly the time we need to do a BRAC," DuBois said, pointing to today's changed national security environment and the ongoing need for the department to become more efficient to better manage taxpayers' dollars.
Congress authorized DoD to perform another BRAC for 2005. Recommendations from four previous BRACs conducted in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 resulted in the accumulated closure of 97 installations.
DoD is transforming to meet 21st-century threats like global terrorism, Dubois said, noting the U.S. military is now "fighting in new and different ways, using new and different weapons systems." However, he said, the department's Cold-War-era based infrastructure "is not where we would like it to be and how we would like it to be." And the imbalance between DoD's changing force structure and infrastructure, he noted, will grow as time goes on.
Because modern military units coming into the pipeline - like the Army's Stryker brigades pack a bigger punch but require fewer soldiers than predecessor organizations, DuBois said, another round of base realignments and closures makes sense.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker made that point in October at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting. "We can get more power out of smaller organizations," the general said.
In the training realm, however, DuBois pointed out that many new weapon systems - like precision-guided missiles - require more training space than is available at some older installations. Increased joint operations, he noted, also are part of BRAC criteria.
The BRAC report, DuBois emphasized, provides an inventory of DoD bases and installations, but no recommended list of base closures or realignments. That process, he said, will be worked out between the Defense Department and a nine- member Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission over the next two years.
The commission, according to DoD documents, is required to provide the president with a report no later than Sept. 8, 2005, containing its findings and conclusions based on a review of DoD's recommendations.