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BRAC, Base Realignment and Closure 2005
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is BRAC?

A1. "BRAC" is an acronym that stands for Base Realignment and Closure.  It is the congressionally authorized process DoD has previously used to reorganize its base structure to more efficiently and effectively support our forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.  (The original legislation actually states that the title of the process is Base Closure and Realignment.) 

Q2.  What are some of the major elements of the BRAC 2005 process and what will ensure it will be fair?

A2. The process began with a threat assessment of the future national security environment, followed by the development of a force structure plan and basing requirements to meet these threats.  DoD then applied legally mandated selection criteria to determine which installations to recommend for realignment and closure.  The Secretary of Defense will publish a report containing his realignment and closure recommendations, forwarding supporting documentation to the independent commission. 

Q3. What is transformation?

A3. According to the Department’s April 2003 Transformation Planning Guidance document, transformation is  "a process that shapes the changing nature of military competition and cooperation through new combinations of concepts, capabilities, people and organizations that exploit our nation's advantages and protect against our asymmetric vulnerabilities to sustain our strategic position, which helps underpin peace and stability in the world."

Q4. Why is DoD transforming?

A4. Over time, the defense strategy calls for the transformation of the U.S. defense establishment. Transformation is at the heart of this strategy.  To transform DoD, we need to change its culture in many important areas.  Our budgeting, acquisition, personnel, and management systems must be able to operate in a world that changes rapidly.  Without change, the current defense program will only become more expensive in the future, and DoD will forfeit many of the opportunities available today.

Q5. How is BRAC transformational?

A5. BRAC provides a singular opportunity to reshape our infrastructure to optimize military readiness.  The 2005 BRAC process will help find innovative ways to consolidate, realign, or find alternative uses for current facilities to ensure that the U.S. continues to field the best-prepared and best-equipped military in the world.  BRAC 2005 will also enable the U.S. military to better match facilities to forces, meet the threats and challenges of a new century, and make the wisest use of limited defense dollars.

Q6. What benefit does the Department anticipate from a future BRAC round?

A6. The Department will be able to divest itself of unnecessary installation infrastructure and use the resultant savings for improving fighting capabilities and quality of life for military forces. This will allow the Department to rationalize installation infrastructure with 21st century national security imperatives. 

Q7. How will BRAC 2005 be different from past rounds?

A7.  BRAC 05 is dramatically different from previous rounds.  Because we are on our 5th round of BRAC, the nature of the excess capacity has changed. Most of the excess capacity today is more fragmented, and often in the form of underused facilities.  This suggests that savings can be achieved by sharing facilities to a greater extent.  Excess capacity is defined as underused or unused facilities an/or infrastructure.  Today, greater emphasis is being placed on reshaping the Department as opposed to simple cost cutting.  There also is greater emphasis on  jointness--selecting the appropriate organizations from two or more services to share facilities in the right location can significantly improve combat effectiveness while reducing costs.  It also generates a more powerful military through appropriate basing.  Jointness at every level will play a much greater role in this round of BRAC.

Q8. What's the timeline for this BRAC round?

A8. There are several significant events taking place throughout the remainder of 2005.  The following is a general timeline of significant events.

May 16, 2005:  Not later than this date, the Secretary of Defense must publish in the Federal Register and transmit to the Congressional Defense Committees and the Commission, a list of the military installations that the Secretary of Defense recommends for closure or realignment.

July 1, 2005:  Not later than this date, the Comptroller General shall transmit to the Congressional Defense Committees, a report containing a detailed analysis of the Secretary of Defense's recommendations and selection process.

September 8, 2005:  Not later than this date, the Commission must transmit to the President  a report containing its findings and conclusions based on a review and analysis of the Secretary of Defense's recommendations.

September 23, 2005: Not later than this date, the President shall transmit to the Commission and to the Congress,  a report containing the President's approval or disapproval of the Commission s recommendations.   If the President approves the recommendations, the recommendations are binding 45  legislative  days after Presidential transmission or adjournment, unless Congress enacts joint resolution of disapproval.

October 20, 2005:  If the President disapproves the Commission's initial recommendations, the Commission must submit revised recommendations to the President not later than this date. 

Nov 7, 2005:  President's Approval or Disapproval of Revised Recommendations.  The President must approve the revised recommendations and transmit approval to Congress by this date or the process ends.  The recommendations become binding 45  legislative  days after Presidential transmission or adjournment, unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval.

April 15, 2006:  Commission terminates.

Q9. Why do we need a BRAC round?

A9. The Department’s position that significant excess capacity remains in the defense infrastructure is supported by independent agencies. The specific level of excess is very dependent on the assumptions used in the analysis. Past experience indicates that more extensive study of joint basing use and cross-Service functional analysis could further increase the level of excess through better utilization of the remaining infrastructure.

The Department estimates that a future BRAC round, based on the costs and savings experiences of BRACs 93/95 and a reduction in installation infrastructure of approximately 20 percent, could generate approximately $7 billion if annual recurring savings in today’s dollars. Resources currently being spent on excess installation infrastructure could be allocated to higher priority requirements, such as efforts to modernize weapons, enhance quality of life, and improve readiness.

Additionally, another BRAC round will afford the Department a significant transformation opportunity. September 11, 2001, reinforced the imperative to convert excess capacity into warfighting ability. The performance of our forces in Iraq underscores the benefit of transformational war fighting. The Department must be allowed to reconfigure its infrastructure to best support the transformation of our warfighting capability. The Department must be allowed the opportunity to assess its installation infrastructure to ensure it is best sized and placed to support emerging mission requirements for our national security needs.

Q10. Which installations will be looked at in this round?

A10. All military installations within the United States and its territories will be examined as part of this process.

Q11. How many installations will be closed?

A11. It's too early to say and there are no specific numbers or "targets." Using specific selection criteria that emphasize military value, DoD must complete a comprehensive review before it can determine which installations should be realigned or closed. In 2005, an independent Commission will review the Secretary of Defense's recommendations, hold public hearings, visit various sites, and ultimately send its recommendations to the President.

Q12. Why would we close U.S. installations before we close overseas installations?

A12. BRAC, of course, only applies to our military facilities in the United States.  As we transform the Department, we didn't think it made much sense to look just at our domestic facilities so we coupled the BRAC process with our Global Force Posture Review, which in essence is a BRAC process for our internationally based forces.  The result is the relocation of troops to the United States from abroad and several other related changes made domestically to ensure unit cohesion, as well as realignment for the twenty-first century.  (Dollar amounts will be available when the Secretary's recommendations are announced.)

Q13. How much has been saved through previous BRAC rounds?

A13. The four previous BRAC rounds have eliminated approximately 20 percent of DoD's capacity that existed in 1988 and, through 2001, produced net savings of approximately $17.7 billion, which includes the cost of environmental cleanup.  Recurring savings beyond 2001 are approximately $7 billion annually.  In independent studies conducted over previous years, both the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office have consistently supported the department's view that realigning and closing unneeded military installations produces savings that far exceed costs.

Q14. What is the BRAC Commission?

A14. The commission is an independent body responsible for reviewing the Secretary's recommendations for BRAC 2005.  The Base Closure and Realignment Act specified the selection process for commissioners.  The President was required to consult with the congressional leadership on nominations to serve on the commission.

Q15. Who was selected as the Chairman of the BRAC 2005 Commission?

A15. Anthony J. Principi has been appointed to serve as the Chairman of the Commission.  Secretary Principi has had a distinguished career in the public and private sectors and recently served as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  He is a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., saw active duty aboard the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, and later commanded a River Patrol Unit in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. Mr. Principi earned his law degree from Seton Hall University in 1975 and was assigned to the Navy's Judge Advocate General Corps in San Diego, Calif.  In 1980, he was transferred to Washington as a legislative counsel for the Department of the Navy.

Q16. Who are the members of the BRAC 2005 Commission?

A16. On April 1, 2005 President George W. Bush used his recess-appointment power to approve the nominations of eight individuals to be Members of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission:

James H. Bilbray of Nevada, Philip Coyle of California, Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Jr., USN (Ret.) of Virginia, James V. Hansen of Utah, General James T. Hill, USA (Ret.) of Florida. General Lloyd Warren Newton, USAF (Ret.) of Connecticut, Samuel Knox Skinner of Illinois, and Brigadier General Sue Ellen Turner, USAF (Ret.) of Texas.

Q17.  Who is James H. Bilbray?

A17.  Former Congressman Bilbray was a member of the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees.  He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1955 to 1963.

Q18.  Who is Philip Coyle?

A18.  Mr. Coyle is a Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information.  He served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Director of Operational Test and Evaluation at the Department of Defense.

Q19.  Who is Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Jr., USN (Ret.)?

A19.  Admiral Gehman served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for over 35 years.  His last assignment was as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic and as the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Q20.  Who is James V. Hansen?

A20.  Former Congressman Hansen was a member of the Armed Services Committee.  He served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1955.

Q21.  Who is General James T. Hill, USA (Ret.)?

A21.  General Hill served in the U.S. Army for 36 years.  His last assignment was as Combatant Commander of the U.S. Southern Command.

Q22.  Who is General Lloyd Warren Newton, USA (Ret.)?

A22. General Newton served in the U.S. Air Force for 34 years.  His last assignment was as the Commander of Air Education and Training Command.

Q23.  Who is Samuel Knox Skinner?

A23.  Mr. Skinner served as Chief of Staff and as Secretary of Transportation for President George H. W. Bush.  He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1960 to 1968.

Q24.  Who is Brigadier General Sue Ellen Turner, USAF (Ret.)?

A24.  General Turner is a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission. She served in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years, most recently as the director of nursing services in the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General at Bolling Air Force Base.

Q25.  What authority does the commission have?

A25.  The commission has the authority to change the Department's recommendations, if it determines that the Secretary deviated substantially from the force structure plan and/or selection criteria.  The commission will hold regional meetings to solicit public input prior to making its recommendations.  History has shown that the use of an independent commission and public meetings make the process as open and fair as possible. 

Q26. What is the role of the Installation Commander in the BRAC process?

A26. A primary role of installation commanders in the BRAC process is to certify information used to conduct the analyses. To enhance fairness in the BRAC process by treating all installations on an equal footing, all information submitted to the Secretary of Defense and the 2005 BRAC Commission for use in making recommendations for base closures and realignments must be certified by the submitter as accurate and complete to the best of their knowledge and belief. Much of this information regarding installation facilities and operations will be gathered in data calls initiated by the Military Departments and sent to installations for processing. Installation commanders will have the ultimate responsibility for certifying that information before it is used in the BRAC process.

Installation commanders may attend meetings, in a liaison or representational capacity, with state and local officials, or other organizations that may seek to develop plans or programs to improve the ability of installations to discharge their national security and defense missions. However, DoD officials may not manage or control such organizations or efforts. In their official capacity, DoD personnel may not participate in the activities of any organization that has as its purpose, either directly or indirectly, insulating DoD installations from closure or realignment. This guidance is aimed at ensuring the fairness and rigor of the BRAC process.

Q27. Can local communities request that DoD installations in their area be considered for closure during BRAC 2005?

A27. Yes. The BRAC Act of 1990, as amended, addresses this issue with the following guidance: "The Secretary of Defense shall consider any notice received from a local government in the vicinity of a military installation that the government would approve of the closure or realignment of the installation."

Q28. Will communities or states that were impacted by past base closures be protected in future base closure rounds? Would their past losses be calculated in determining "cumulative economic impact?"

A28. The Department must consider all military installations equally, without regard to whether the installation has been previously considered or proposed for closure or realignment. Additionally, the Department will do adhere to the statutory requirements regarding the selection criteria that will be used in the BRAC process, of which military value is the primary consideration. In doing so, the Department will consider "the economic impact on existing communities in the vicinity of military installations." Application and evaluation of economic impacts will be consistently and fairly applied.

Q29. How have local communities affected by installation closures fared overall?

A29.  Base Realignments and Closures cause near-term social and economic disruption.  However, there are many success stories from previous closures. A base closure can actually be an economic opportunity, especially when all elements of a community work together.  While each closure or realignment has different consequences and/or results, some recent examples include:

(1) Charleston Naval Base, S.C. -- The local community, assisted by DoD, was able to create approximately 4,500 new jobs.  Approximately 90 private, state and federal entities are currently reusing the former naval base. 

(2) Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire   More than 185 operating tenants currently established at the Pease International Tradeport (PIT).  The PIT has been designated a Foreign Free Trade Zone by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and has developed an air cargo access capability via an 11,300 foot runway.  There is in excess of 3,800,000 square feet of new, or newly renovated space, that has supported the creation of over 5,000 jobs, in bio technology (Lonza Biotechnics), education (Southern New Hampshire University), in addition to a wide variety (Pan Am, Marriott, Redhook Brewery) of retail and professional service availability day-to-day.

(3) Fort Devens, Mass. -- More than 3,000 new jobs have been generated and 2.7 million square feet of new construction has occurred. With 68 different employers on site, redevelopment ranges from small business incubators to the Gillette Corp., which occupies a large warehouse/distribution center and manufacturing plant. 

Q30. What impact does BRAC have on the implementation of NSPS, particularly those activities in Spiral One?

A30.  BRAC will not affect the overall implementation of NSPS. NSPS is also critical to the Department's transformation and the Department will not delay its implementation as a result of BRAC. No activity on the BRAC list will automatically be excluded from Spiral One. Components will assess whether inclusion of a BRAC site in Spiral One is appropriate, considering such factors as the anticipated time frame for the closure/realignment and impact on the mission and the workforce.

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