BRAC 2005: Service Leaders Support DoD Recommendations
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2005 Senior service leaders expressed confidence today in the base realignment and closure process and acknowledged that it's a critical part of the Defense Department's transformation to make the military more effective to meet 21st-century threats.
Speaking today at a news conference with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the service representatives said BRAC represents a difficult, but important step as the department postures itself for the future.
The process led to BRAC recommendations the services "were all able to sign up to with no problem at all," Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force chief of staff, told Pentagon reporters.
Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, said the Army believes the recommendations to be announced May 13 "will holistically transform our current infrastructure and support the Army modular force while supporting the needs of the combatant commander."
"These BRAC proposals will posture the Army in the best possible manner to meet the strategic and operational requirements of this century," Cody said. They also will "provide stability and an improved standard of living for our hard-working soldiers and their families," he said.
Adm. Vern Clark, chief of naval operations, said the BRAC process "has been of great value to the United States Navy" and presents a far greater trend toward jointness than proposed during previous BRAC rounds.
"Our focus has been throughout on getting the best military value, and that ties to ... running our Navy in the most effective and efficient way possible," he said. "But at the end of the day, it was always about the best military value for the United States Navy and the joint force."
Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said he believes the BRAC recommendations "will improve organizational alignments and ensure our readiness and expeditionary capability to deploy quickly."
The recommendations reflect a close review of the Defense Department's infrastructure capability and the military value of current installations to meet not only current needs, but also those of the future force structure, he said. Throughout the process, Hagee said, those involved in the review focused on joint solutions to develop recommendations "for the more efficient and effective use of our bases and stations."
Jumper said the BRAC recommendations represent a continuation of the service's ongoing transformation "to make our structures and our organizations more agile and better able to cope with the world that we find ourselves in today."
The recommendations will help accelerate the move toward joint processes, training and research, and maximize limited training space so it available to more than one service, he said.
In addition to the Defense Department and its members, the service leaders said the BRAC recommendations also will be a boost to taxpayers, who will benefit from a more effective military while being relieved of the cost of excess infrastructure and redundant operations.
Jumper reiterated commitments made by both Rumsfeld and Myers at the news conference to help make the process as painless as possible for the affected communities. "As the secretary said, we pledge ... to stand by our community partners as we make these transitions that flow from the full process of BRAC," he said.