To view slides used during the briefing: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2005/050510-D-6570C-001.pdf
Whitman: Thank you for coming this afternoon. We felt this might be helpful to provide you with some background on the process, principles and the philosophy behind the Base Realignment and Closure we are about to make some recommendations on.
You'll find that the officials that we have with us today can be very helpful in helping you start to set up and prepare some of your stories when we eventually have something to release to you. They'll be able to talk today about how we got to where we are now. They'll be able to talk you through some of the imperatives that exist for this process, as well as talk to the basic process going forward, as well as where we've been if that's of interest to you. Talk a little bit about some of the criteria that's being used.
We had intended to do this all on background, but after discussing this I think we will start on the record. If we need to go on background, we will, but to the extent possible we will keep this on the record so that when we do release the recommendations you'll be able to attribute the material that you're receiving today in those stories.
So today we have Michael Wynne and Phil Grone who are both going to talk to you on the various aspects of this. And we will start with Mr. Wynne who will give you an overview. Phil Grone will then go through a presentation that will try to bring you up to speed on where we're at on some of this, and then Mr. Wynne will close and we'll take some questions from there.
Press: This is not embargoed is it?
Whitman: This is on the record, it is not embargoed unless you go on background.
Wynne: Thank you very much, Bryan.
For those of you who don't know me, many of you do, my name is Mike Wynne and I'm the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, and I just wanted to provide you kind of an overview. Then Phil Grone who's here with me today has got a nice packaged briefing that can take you through essentially an overview of BRAC that will probably duplicate some of the things that I'm about to say. When he does that, after he finishes that we'll take some questions on it. I think that would probably be the best way to approach this.
To start with, we started this in November of 2002 with a memorandum from the Secretary of Defense trying to put into policy and practice the legal capability to in fact conduct a base realignment and closure pursuant to I think the National Defense Authorization Act of that previous year.
With that in mind we set up a structure which you'll see that had as one of its key principles interrelationships, jointness and transformation, drawing really off of some of the QDR principles that were evidenced in 2001.
We tried to think about how to maximize joint utilization of some of the, if you will, the shops that have been set up independently, whether they're finance shops or whether they're personnel shops or whether they're some of the functional areas that each of the services at the time said it would need by the time all of the technology has caught up to us and the ability to share has caught up with us, we could see our way clear to move to reengineering and best practice.
Also as you know in September 10 the Secretary talked about converting waste to warfighting which is sort of one of the things we hope to also accomplish. We did this through the organization and reaching out to all of the services and all of the functional areas within the Department of Defense.
Where we are at the present moment is continuing to construct a set of draft recommendations for the Secretary to consider. It is due on the 16th of May. The Secretary will consider these, and none of them are real as we all realize, though a lot of work has gone into creating them, until he does sign and send his recommendations to the Commission.
Phil will go through kind of the timeline and the Commission has then the opportunity to deliberate, take additional information from both their visits to the communities, et cetera, and then they will then complete their review and forward it to the President. And I think Phil would be better off to take you through that. It's not too complex, but it's better to see it I think in text.
We expect that the process will be done by no later than the 4th Quarter or the 1st Quarter of next year, if it stretches all the way out, which will be into -- should all the recommendations be accepted and should the submission in fact be completed, that we would then be into the implementation phase.
So to start there, Phil, I'm going to ask you to go through the presentation that you have and I'll introduce you somebody who's worked very hard on this, who understands quite a bit of its background, although he has worked for me for a while now and I have a lot of respect for his capabilities -- Deputy Under Secretary for Defense for Installations and Environment, Phil Grone.
Grone: Thank you, sir. It's good to see all of you. Several of you I've had an opportunity to speak with previously, and what Mr. Whitman asked us to do is to provide some background to help just to sort of reprise some of where we've been and to give you a sense of sort of where we're headed to a base realignment, some of the basic data.
There have been four prior rounds of base closure and realignment since 1988. The last occurred in 1995. Through that process we closed 97 major bases in the United States, its possessions and territories; 55 major realignments; and 235 minor actions of one kind or another. Minor closure or minor realignment.
Press: Sir, are you going to give us a printout of this or should we be taking vigorous notes?
Grone: If I wanted to have fun with you, I'd say vigorous notes, but I think Mr. Whitman and I --
Whitman: We'll make some accommodations.
Grone: Through the process we achieved net savings, and these savings have been consistently validated. There's always some question or concern expressed by some about whether these savings were rule, but through the implementation period of all the prior rounds of BRAC we say that these are, the data will be submitted to the Congress with the President's budget for this year, $18 billion through [FY2001] is the amount of money that we've saved in that process. And beyond that point, annual recurrent savings of actually $7.3 billion. Those are savings that accrue to the department forever for infrastructure that we no longer support.
Of course the Secretary requested, the administration had requested two rounds of base closure early on in the administration. Congress authorized a single round in 2005. The timing of it is such, as Mr. Wynne indicated, that it gave us some opportunity to take into effect some of the early stages and certainly the latter stages of our integrated total presence and basing strategy, or what we've taken and in shorthand refer to as our global posture review. It's important, the timing of that, because as Mr. Wynne indicated, that will give us the ability to help reset the force globally, but also reset the forces in the United States and those forces that are now returning to duty in the United States.
I want to spend a moment just on this notion of the 20-25 percent or the 24 percent excess capacity because it has caused periodically some confusion. That number was never meant to suggest nor did it ever suggest that one in four bases would be closed throughout this process. It was a parametric estimate similar to a study that the Congress had requested six years earlier that resulted in a number of 23 percent excess, and it was a base closure construct that was not a military value analysis, nor was it a BRAC analysis.
So what we've done with an actual BRAC process is we've put the appropriate military value around our installations and the functions that we're analyzing, to come up with a way to rationalize our infrastructure to our force structure in a way that improves military effectiveness and in addition to support the warfighter.
This slide, and we'll have this in the handout for you, further details and basically this is an abstract from our budget justifications from earlier this year that breaks out these cost of savings questions and prior BRAC closures and alignments from all the prior years.
As we initiated this process with the Secretary's kickoff memo as we called it for 2002, Mr. Wynne referred to it, there have been a number of key imperatives that we have utilized to [fill in] this process and have been part of the background of this process as we've undertaken it.
Certainly a key one at the outset is to do what we can in BRAC to further transformation. Rationalizing our infrastructure with our force structure and adjusting that footprint to improving the capability and military efficiency.
A second key principle, maximize joint utilization. Certainly to reduce overhead and improve efficiency, but to also facilitate joint training and operations. What we've tried to do in many ways is look at our assets as national assets, not merely as the assets of a given military service, and to ask ourselves questions about whether our military infrastructures sufficiently support the warfighter as opposed to simply looking at solely the mission of only one service.
And certainly the conversion of waste to [warfighting]. To the extent that we have, and we did have substantial savings from prior rounds of BRAC. To the extent that we have excess, in our capacity and our infrastructure today the resources, the manpower, the dollars that go to supporting infrastructure that is no longer required for the military mission strains resources, it can certainly be better placed on the pointy end of the spear to support the warfighter. That's another key principle as we move forward.
Process timelines. Certainly some of these [inaudible] some of them. Where we are in the process is indicated as we have a deadline of May 16th under the statute to submit the recommendations through the Commission process which has already begun with two sets of hearings but it begins in earnest at that point and carries forward to the early part of September. As Mr. Wynne indicated, if the process runs its natural course and the recommendations ultimately become law in about the December timeframe we would be in the position to begin to implement the recommendations which would then become law.
The basic process remains very much the same. As many of you are familiar with prior rounds, it's an all or nothing proposition once the Secretary tables his recommendations and the Commission reports. The Commission can make changes, and I'll make reference to that later on, but the Commission ultimately will move forward and report to the President. The President has one opportunity to send that report back to the Commission with whatever commentary or concerns he may desire to express. That's never happened in prior rounds of BRAC, but it is provided for by law. The Commission will take those observations of the President into account, make whatever changes they deem necessary to include making no changes, sending that report back to the President.
The President at that point would have two choices. He can send the recommendations on to the Congress for the congressional consideration period, or he can choose not to forward it to the Congress at which point the process ends.
If, for example, if we miss our statutory deadline of May 16th, the process would end. So there are several off-ramps in this process. If gates are missed or actions are not taken, the process terminates.
Of course Congress has an opportunity to reject the entirety of the package by a joint resolution of disapproval. As a joint resolution it is subject to presidential veto. Absent such a joint resolution, the recommendations become law and we would be in a position to begin implementing them the latter part of this year.
The Commission review process, I mention this because it is slightly different from prior rounds of BRAC. The fundamentals of it are not. The only way in which the Commission can change the Secretary's recommendations is if he [inaudible], if he deviated substantially [inaudible] turned the [inaudible] in the law from either the force structure plans to the Congress and will be resubmitted to the Commission when the Secretary submits his recommendations or the selection criteria. If it finds that he deviated substantially from either of those they have justification to act.
The Commission based on changes to the law over the course of the last two years can only add a closure to the recommendation to the Secretary. First in order to merely consider the installation closure there has to be a simple majority vote of seven of the nine Commissioners. Two of them have to have visited the installation. The same rule set will apply to actually closing the installation.
The statute is silent with regard to the procedures by which a base can be taken off the list, and while the Commission hasn't made any announcement, we assume there will be by the standard of majority vote, five of the nine, that there have not been any, as far as I'm aware, representations with regard to that.
I would direct you on those kinds of questions about how the Commission intends to operate to the Commission, because once the Secretary makes his recommendations it really is Chairman (Anthony) Principi and the full Commission to go manage the process from that moment forward.
Press: Can I just ask a clarifying point there? Did you say that there's no provision in the law that defines under what circumstances the Commission could remove a recommended closure from the list?
Grone: There is no provision in the statute with regard to the voting requirement to remove. We assume that it can be a simple majority.
Press: So they can do an --
Press: But they can remove --
Grone: They can remove items from the list, yes.
Press: Can they move things between categories, from like say close to realign or something like that?
Grone: Yes, that would be within their general authority.
Press: And that's also a simple majority?
Grone: That does have a [inaudible], and again, I would urge you to contact the Commission for a precise answer to that question.
Press: And you say seven of nine to close a base?
Grone: To add one that's not on the Secretary's list.
Press: And a majority to close it.
Grone: Yes, I believe that to be correct.
Press: On the seven of nine, my understanding is that it's not seven of nine, it's seven votes flat. So if for instance two members for some reason cannot vote, then -- It's not a super majority. It just has to be seven votes.
Grone: My understanding is that it is seven.
Whitman: Let's get through the presentation, and then we'll open it to questions.
Grone: Again, as we initiated this process, the key components of this, service-unique functions, and I would generally categorize them, although not exclusively, but tend to be operational functions of the military services, were analyzed by the military services as part of their total force workup to [inaudible] analyze the Marine Corps operational issues and so on for each of the services.
The common business oriented support function where we analyzed by our Joint Cross-Service Group process, and a key part about these, you can see them arrayed on the decision tree here, seven Joint Cross-Service Groups. This is a key change really in terms of just how BRAC is organized, the transformational part of the organization of this round of BRAC.
In prior rounds of BRAC to the extent that we had Joint Cross-Service Groups they were narrowly constituted. For example, in 1995 we had a Joint Cross-Service Group on depot maintenance. In this round we had, and Mr. Wynne in one of his roles was also the Chairman of the Industrial Joint Cross-Service Group, which had authority to look beyond just depot maintenance, at the industrial functions of the department. So we have done that with all of these groups. We've given them a breadth and scope portfolio. The entire business function of the department [inaudible] regards, and each of these groups was represented at the senior level, each of the four military services, a member of the Joint Staff, and a member of the OSD Staff, and the chair of those groups would not necessarily, were not all led by an OSD [inaudible]. The Air Force Surgeon General, for example, chaired the medical group; Mr. Wynne chaired the industrial group; the Deputy G4 for the Army or G8 for the Army ran the headquarters and support group; so a variety of individuals within this department led and ran these groups, and it was very much a joint decision process from bottom to top.
The Superior Decision Authorities, the Infrastructure Security Group which Mr. Wynne also chaired, and the Infrastructure Executive Council chaired by the Deputy Secretary for which Mr. Wynne in the AT&L role as the Executive Secretary. Again, it was a very joint process from top to bottom. In prior rounds of BRAC largely the military departments brought their recommendations forward pretty much toward the end of the process with little opportunity for the senior leadership to make joint adjustments or for the Secretary really to have a clear sense of leadership, a clear sense of how this evolved over time. So this is a far less stovepiped process and much more of a joint process, and I would say, and Mr. Wynne can elaborate, there was also a good deal of cross-talk in this process between and among the military departments, even with regard to operational assessment in the context of the overall flavor of jointness that we have tried to put on this process.
This slide simply lists the entities.
Selection criteria, a key point. The selection criteria were published in early 2004. As a matter of statute as opposed to a matter of departmental policy as in the past, military value is the highest in principle, primary consideration for the Secretary developing his recommendations.
Congress ultimately codified these criteria which are our military value with the insertion of the word "surge" criterion rating, and which the Secretary spoke a bit about last week I believe. And the other criteria to include economic impact, the ability of communities to support forces, missions and personnel, environmental impact. These other considerations were also key parts of the process and were utilized in the development of recommendations.
A note on the schedule of which you may be aware, as I indicated earlier, the Commission has begun its work with hearings already. The Secretary and the Chairman are scheduled to testify on the 16th of May. Mr. Wynne and I will also provide testimony on the overall methodology that the department, and guidance the Department of Defense provides to all the folks in the process who are doing analysis. The service secretaries and service chiefs will then provide testimony and then the Joint Cross-Service Group, the chairmen, all chairs, will also provide testimony to the Commission next week, and we could have the web site address where material is posted appropriately over time as we go through the process.
That's basically a summary overview, and we'll be open to any questions.
Press: Can you explain the major changes to this round from the last round in '95? You picked off a couple in substance, much more of a joint flavor to this, but also the process of how you alter the recommendations, or how the BRAC Commission had altered recommendations. What were some of the changes made that affect this round?
Grone: We've spoken to the major two, or the major one in terms of the Commission process. How the Commission --
Press: What was it before? I've forgotten? How did it change things before?
Grone: In a prior round of BRAC it was all a simple majority. There was no requirement for Commissioners to have, a set number of Commissioners to have visited the installation, for example. And those changes were made as a result of congressional interest over the course of the last two years.
Wynne: But for us, for the Commission to -- the operation of the Commission, I think for us the major statutory was the addition of the word "surge" [inaudible]. The criterion fundamentally remain approximately the same as we had in 1995, [you can tell it served] the department well.
I think the insistence on having overarching military value, be it sort of a precedent to the process, was new. And then for the insertion of the Joint Cross-Service Groups in the structure together with the Infrastructure Steering Group and the Infrastructure Executive Council to sort of bring order to the process, were relatively new features compared to I think the last round of BRAC, and we do in fact have folks who were there then, thought that the process was a little bit more orderly this time than the previous time when the services essentially brought their recommendations to the fore and they were essentially analyzed and assembled and that was it.
Press: Speaking of the surge, just adding the surge consideration to the military value criteria, I guess that's the way to say it, has that affected your calculations of what in fact the excess capacity is? Has it lowered it?
Wynne: I think the Secretary gave a pretty interesting analysis about that. They calculation done was kind of a parametric one in the 2001 timeframe, I believe it was, where you just compared force structure to acreage, for example, or total square foot occupied, and then find force structure to acreage.
The reality is a little bit, once you get into these processes the reality becomes a little bit different. As you return forces from, on a global reposturing, as you analyze what mean surge -- and it is different things, by the way, to different people. Surge, for example, is a lot different on the training front or in the schooling front than it might be on an industrial thing or on an operational base. Surge has to be defined by each of its operating [inaudible]. So that all I think contributes to, if you will, the assemblage of what would fit the criteria and then the overarching military value that must be applied as we essentially get to a set of recommendations.
Press: Two questions. Can you explain in editor-friendly terms why 24 percent of excess capacity wouldn't translate into roughly 24 percent of capacity being closed? And secondly, with all these savings over the years of excess capacity, has the excess capacity gone down over the years? If not, why not?
Wynne: I think the best explanation is that, the first estimate was parametric in nature using fairly robust parameters, and looking at it through a real filter, it just doesn't come up to those levels of excess.
Press: Can you translate that into English for us? [Laughter].
Grone: The two studies that Congress had asked be done, first in 1998 and in 2004, they were parametric. They were estimates. Not a military value analysis, not [inaudible]. The reason why they didn't change too much over the six-year period when you really think about it, this was after BRAC, after BRAC [inaudible]. How much did force structure change between 1998 and 2004? Answer, not much. So you would expect the answer to come out just about the same, and it did.
Capacity, as any business person would tell you, is not the same as counting the sites where you operate. Capacity means different things to different entities of business, and different things, different functions within an enterprise to include the Department of Defense. The number of people you would have to maneuver training acres; the number of labor hours you use in the depot; they're different. When you sort of roll it all up into one large first number, you have to have 24 percent. Does that mean you're going to close one base in four? You can't make that judgment because you haven't done the military analysis. You haven't looked at all the missions of the department, all the capabilities that are needed for the future total force. That's what a BRAC is designed to do. All that did was give us an indication that we were misaligned in our infrastructure, and our people, and our missions and the functions we've got to perform for national defense. And that was what the Secretary's justification to Congress was and certification was for an additional round of base closure authority.
We have every indication that we have misalignment and excess capacity and we need to do a full BRAC analysis to truly understand the nature of that and to shape our infrastructure for the future, and that's what we've done.
Press: So how much excess capacity is there?
Grone: None of us are prepared to give a number until the Secretary announces [inaudible] conditions.
Press: Using the same parameters that you used for the first [inaudible] and came up with the 24 percent [unused] capacity number, is there an optimal level of unused capacity [inaudible]? People look for around 85 percent capacity to be used. Once it gets down below 80 percent, it kind of raises a red flag [inaudible]. I mean are we looking at similar numbers here for the military sector? Or are we looking at --
Wynne: If you go back to the year of the reports, the 1999 year, the 2004 report, the number covers and governs major functions across the entire [inaudible] defense area. It doesn't [inaudible] department. It is a weighted average of all of these varying capacity numbers that were provided in [inaudible], to provide a sense of whether the department had access or not. There is no way to draw a parallel between that number and the stats that you cite with regard to [inaudible] utilization. You're basically looking at a function as we might have looked at a function within a weighted average that gave us this large number of 24 percent.
Press: But would you agree that being at 100 percent capacity might not be a good idea because there's no stretch in it? It would have to be somewhere below 100 percent?
Wynne: None of us have suggested we will be at 100 percent capacity.
Press: Can you give us a ballpark of where you expect to be? Do you expect to be at 10 percent excess or 15 or --
Wynne: I think the Secretary's statement from last week should stand for what he said.
Press: We don't have the transcript of that. Can you get it for us?
Wynne: He was quoted in press stories, and Mr. Whitman can provide access to that.
Whitman: I think the Secretary in his own press briefing about two weeks ago indicated that he believed that the excess capacity number, or the estimated excess capacity number was higher than what he believed it would be when we were finished, and we'll know soon, and you'll know soon.
Press: Can you talk about economic impact? That seemed to be one of the criteria that was in there. How is economic impact figured [inaudible]. Do you look at whether it's a large base in a small, rural community? How do you weigh that against military value?
Wynne: We have to take into account, and military value is the primary consideration. I don't know that we're prepared today to talk precisely as to how we did that in general because we will have specific recommendations and we'll be able to talk about it specifically.
Press: You said military is the primary consideration?
Wynne: By law, military value is the primary consideration.
Press: I get a sense that BRAC is going to determine how much our excess capacity is. Is that a fair way of saying [inaudible]?
Wynne: I think that is probably not a fair way. The reason is because each of the functions determine a surge requirement based on the statute and then I think actually probably padded that [inaudible]. Because of the statutory requirement you don't want to be on the line, you want to be at least reasonably comfortable. And also, one of the interesting features of this round was that we were doing this whole round during the time that we were actively engaged, our forces were actively engaged, which gave a sense of urgency, if you will, to the definition of surge.
So all of that has a part it's playing. If we were to do a rough calculation, I can't tell you what it would turn out to be as a result of it. I think that would be something that perhaps somebody in 2015 might look back on and answer the question.
Press: To follow upon the surge question, you said that [inaudible] definition [inaudible]. Will you talk a little bit about your thinking when it comes to sort of non-traditional facilities or [inaudible] facilities, that sort of thing? What does surge capacity mean?
Wynne: I'll go so far as to say that we allowed them to calculate it. They were not stuck with one size fits all, so that each of the -- And this was really one of the benefits of the involvement in the Joint Cross-Service Groups, is that at that level they got a lot of involvement from the services, from, if you will, the basic lab structure in the Technical Joint Cross-Service Group from me, for all of the supporting industrial features, and each brought if you will, their own view and their own definition of it and it got congealed. It also then got vetted by the military departments to make sure that they were all comfortable. So that's kind of where I would leave it.
Press: A follow up to that. Local communities have decided or pitched [inaudible]. Is that [inaudible] at all?
Wynne: I would have to say that we cannot consider in our calculations the community plans. The Commission I think is more able to listen to specific community things, however, it's probably very prudent that we not listen to that because it should not ever turn into some kind of a we're better than thou process. For unrealized things.
Press: -- the Secretary's recommendation is essentially complete now, and it's the widely held assumption that they will be released on Friday, is that true?
Wynne: I'd have to say that we're looking at the 16th as a deadline, and as the people in charge of the process, I mean we'd love to have it done sooner than later, but the fact of the matter is it's still percolating, and the Secretary has every right to drag it right up to the deadline, and the two of us just kind of hope that he might not, but that's his right.
Press: Our congressional offices, though, are telling us that they're going to hear about 9:00 o'clock or 9:30 on Friday morning. The Members of Congress are supposed to be getting a [inaudible] from DoD to tell them what the base is. Am I the only one that's heard this or --
Press: No, that was --
Wynne: -- what their plan is, as well as public affairs as to what their particular plan is, but --
Whitman: In the next couple of days we'll be providing you with more information as it becomes available with respect to when we're going to release this. The process ends when the Secretary signs his submission. The Secretary has not signed the submission. And so for that reason it's wise that we not set hard and fast dates at this point in time. We will meet the requirement, which is no later than the 16th, and when we have something to announce, we will.
Press: -- ahead of time, though?
Whitman: We will provide that information via the normal means that we do, press advisories and Today in DoD on the web site, when we might have various briefings.
Press: Will you --
Whitman: One at a time, please.
Press: Will you tell the base commanders before --
Whitman: We have a process that we'll notify Congress, and we'll notify Governors, it will notify all the people that have interest in this, and we are going to make sure that they are included in the information.
So I'm not here to lay that out for you today. This is a background briefing. When we're ready to tell the press when we'll be making public announcements we will do that through our normal means which is a press advisory and press briefings and we've all covered that before --
Press: One quick question for a benchmark. How many installations are there right now, and within the [Pentagon] world that our editors can say they're closing X number of bases. Well, how many bases are there?
Wynne: There are so many sites it's hard to -- I think we approach 5,000 sites across America, but you can stratify those. You can stratify them in a number of ways. We have Guard sites, we have Reserve sites, we have some minor installations, office buildings around, and then you can go on up in value.
I think the determination of major base and minor base is still ongoing. We're trying to be highly correlated, if you will, so we don't rain too hard on anybody's parade from the past BRAC which were in fact broken into major and minor, and we're continuing to array that information to make sure that we're reasonably close to apples to apples so the comparisons can be done.
Press: At least give us a figure, so whatever you release -- Are you talking about one percent of the facilities or ten --
Press: A quick follow-up. Military value. How has that definition changed from 1995 to 2005? What are your elements of military value this year that would have been different a decade ago?
Wynne: Go back to slide 13, please.
Press: Can you spell your name for us please?
Wynne: Yes. W-Y-N-N-E.
This really comprises military value, and as I mentioned, the addition of the word "surge" right here really was the major difference. I believe this was the same definition that we had in 1995.
Grone: Some of the key differences are in the selection criteria. In criteria one we put a capabilities based flavor on the criteria consistent with the capabilities based planning process within the department today.
Also concerning the impact on joint warfighting which was not part of the criteria in the past.
And certainly the specific culling out of the homeland defense mission of the department criterion too I believe was not a part of our prior approach.
The specification of surge, as Mr. Wynne indicated. There are other sort of adjustments over time, but those are some of the key ones.
Press: Mr. Wynne, post-Cold War. Could you --
Wynne: The prior criteria were in a different time, a BRAC of a different kind. This really does reflect more the current thinking of the department with regard to capabilities-based planning and trying to look forward to --
Wynne: It reflects quite a bit of the QDR in 2001.
Press: Can you explain why the surge was added? What was the reason for adding the term --
Wynne: You're going to have to ask Congressman Hunter about that. It came through legislation. I think it was to take into account that in fact we were a nation at war.
Press: Mr. Wynne, can I follow up, you were talking a little bit about the local communities and how they -- A lot of states and a lot of communities have been [inaudible] a lot of treasure and dispensing money to [inaudible] the process. You're saying at this point what you've been doing, you've been working on, that's been a waste of money at this point. Whether or not it's going to --
Wynne: I think you'd have to ask each of the states for their approach and the way they feel about it.
Press: -- access to --
Wynne: -- satisfaction is certainly up to them, not to me.
Press: Have these people had access? Has anyone representing the local community had access to your process? Had access to you? Had access to the people? If so, how?
Wynne: I don't think that's an appropriate thing for me to -- I will say that I've had access to their representatives and their senators and if they're with them, then that's a different thing.
Press: Sir, on the surge, if I recall that started out as a requirement in the House that the Army be able to handle two additional divisions and it was watered down in conference. Of course now we have troops coming back from Europe, so I wonder if you considered that to be the definition of surge, or is surge something beyond that?
Wynne: As I mentioned, each group in fact constructed a definition of surge on their own. One of the interesting features about this round is that in fact we were engaged in an active conflict.
Grone: The key part to remember about the criteria is that for each of the recommendations that the Secretary may make to the Commission, they have to be assessed against each of these criteria. So the notion of a one size fits all approach to any of these activities, particularly with regard to military value and particularly with regard to the concept of surge is largely not a wise way to conduct analysis. The way Mr. Wynne described the process in terms of business owners or the mission owners from an operational perspective, being able to assess what would constitute surge capability for that particular function is the way in which we largely chose to address the requirement, because the specific recommendations that the Secretary makes must reflect an ability to accommodate surge. What you may recommend in one area is not necessarily what it would be in another. And so the flexibility that the criteria have always afforded us to apply these criteria which are specific and flexible enough to apply to all of our mission areas, either on the business side of the house or the operational side of the house, the support side of the house, is critical to being able to conduct a BRAC analysis.
A one size fits all notion of surge that only applies -- That's not what Congress told us to do. They told us to take into account surge in the context of every specific recommendation the Secretary of Defense may choose to make.
Press: Did you all bring in surge in any way? If one of the Cross-Service Groups said we need 30 percent surge, did you let them do that?
Wynne: We allowed each of the Cross-Service Groups to bring forth convincing arguments, and I wouldn't say that logic had a hold in every case, because this is all about convincing also the service secretaries and the service chiefs --
Press: So the Cross-Service Groups were not unfettered in this. I mean they had to answer to what you all wanted.
Wynne: They reported actually to an Infrastructure Steering Group which was comprised all of the Vice Chiefs of each of the services and the Under Secretaries or the Deputy Under Secretaries for Installations and Environment. So there was a very senior group that they had to vet all of their criterion with.
Press: So, correct me if I'm wrong, but in the last round of BRAC those Joint Cross-Service Groups could advise the services but they couldn't recommend things for closure. This time they can actually recommend closures or realignments. How has that changed the whole dynamic?
Wynne: I think because we asked them to surface it, what we did was we had an iterative process. We asked them to surface their ideas, sort of either in colleague or in advance of when the services made their recommendations. So the service groups therefore got not only review but it also got surfaced to the Infrastructure Steering Group which meant that it really got surfaced to fairly senior leadership in the department, where I think before it probably didn't get surfaced at that level. So many of the things, if you will, were a counter, very transparent process in view of it all, and I think the services were just a little bit more cognizant, plus frankly, we've been emphasizing jointness and transformation and business reengineering for a while now and to say that it might be taking may be an overstep, but I saw some good evidence.
Whitman: We've got time for about two more. How about somebody who hasn't had a chance to ask a question?
Press: In past rounds something like ten percent of the base that have been on the original list did not end up on the final list. There were changes in that. As I understand it the only way that can happen is if the argument is made that DoD could not follow its own criteria.
Now with the tightening of the wording here, is that likely to mean fewer bases are going to end up changing or coming off that list?
Wynne: Well in fact the calculation that we're looking at is about 15 percent got altered. [Not] changed -- up or down or off the list, but changed. So we've set ourselves a quality criterion, that we'd like to see less than 15 percent altered, just as a process of quality control. But I don't know the substantive deviation term; and the tightness of the criterion that we established may play a role. I think that's something I want to challenge the [Commission] staff, if you will, to set that as their record. But I think they have to take a very thorough view. I expect them to take a look through all the analysis, and I have to say they're very competent folks. You've met the leadership, I've met the leadership, and I expect them to have some pretty pointed questions for us all.
Grone: If I could, the important thing out of 15 percent, it's simply a matter of record because that's what prior Commissions have chosen to do. What I think it really reinforces here is the important, independent role of the Commission.
The Secretary of Defense and the senior leadership and the department have had this question under consideration for sometime. We'll provide to the Commission a set of recommendations to realign our infrastructure with our mission requirements. The Commission has an important independent role in that regard, and that prior record of making changes in the Secretary's recommendations is reflective of that. Again, the Commission's role is independent, it's important, just as the President has an independent role and the Congress has a independent role in this process. Certainly we would like to think that everybody thinks the Secretary's recommendations have such great logic to them and they are so well documented that there would be no need to change any of them, but that's not what the law provides. The law provides for a key, independent role of this nine-member, duly constituted Commission, to take a good hard look at what we've done to ensure that we have complied with the statute, to comply with our own internal guidance, and that we did do things that were entirely consistent with that and that it benefits the long-term interests of the United States, and that's what they're going to do.
Whitman: Make this the last one.
Press: I just wanted to ask, if the information gets released here this week or whenever, are we going to find out specifically why certain bases are closed?
Wynne: The package that we're going to submit legally to the Commission as well as to the Congress has in fact rationale for why that particular recommendation was made, so I think that should be a start of the rationale process.
Press: Will there be rationale for those that don't close?
Press: Probably not. [Laughter].
Wynne: That's a very good question and shouldn't be ignored because what we did was, we in fact looked through all of the base structure and facilities across the department domestically, and I would say that the Commission will find in some of the considerations within the military departments or within the Joint Cross-Service Groups that they'll probably have a rationale for why the retention was there just as easily, but it won't be as detailed and it won't be as nicely packaged, but I would tell you that having gone through quite a few of our own and seen the process from the bottom to the top, there was a lot of consideration given.
Whitman: Thank you all. I hope this has been helpful. When we have something to announce we will get it out to you. You may step by the press office in about 20 minutes and pick up a copy of this presentation.