Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced today that the department's recommendations to close or realign military facilities in the United States will better position U.S. forces to confront this century's threats. The recommendation, if fully implemented, will generate an estimated net savings of nearly $50 billion over the next two decades. When combined with the anticipated savings from overseas basing realignments around the world, the projected net savings increases to $64.2 billion.
"Our current arrangements, designed for the Cold War, must give way to the new demands of the war against extremism and other evolving 21st Century challenges," Rumsfeld said.
The department's BRAC recommendations, if adopted, would close 33 major bases and realign 29 more.
The BRAC recommendations were developed in a process that began in 2001, with the initiation of a review of how U.S. forces were arrayed overseas. Prospective changes to the department's global posture were fed into the analysis and recommendations. As a result, forces coming home will return to installations better arrayed to train and deploy for possible contingencies around the world.
The department's BRAC recommendations were developed by the military services and seven joint cross-service groups in consultation with the combatant commanders. Each recommendation was created under the procedures established in the Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, as amended. The BRAC analysis started with the 20-Year Force Structure Plan and the department's inventory of facilities, and then applied BRAC selection criteria that had been published early in 2004.
These criteria give paramount importance to an installation's military value. Other considerations included costs of potential savings, and economic and environmental impacts of potential changes. The BRAC analysis used data that was certified accurate in a process monitored by the Government Accountability Office and the department's inspection and audit agencies.
The department's BRAC recommendations are intended to:
- Enhance the military's ability to meet contingency surge or mobilization requirements;
- Retain those installations that have unique capabilities that would be difficult to reconstitute at other locations;
- Consolidate similar or duplicative training and support functions to improve joint war fighting;
- Transform important support functions including logistics, medicine and research and development by capitalizing on advances in technology and business practice.
The department's recommendations will now be reviewed by the BRAC Commission, which will seek comments from the potentially affected communities. As it has in the past four BRAC rounds, the department will assist affected communities in a variety of ways. Department of Defense programs include personnel transition and job training assistance, local reuse planning grants, and streamlined property disposal. The department will join with other federal agencies to offer additional assistance to affected communities.
Once the commission has completed its review, it will present its recommendations to the President. The President must approve and submit the commission's recommendations to the Congress for review and appropriate action. The entire process is expected to be completed by the end of 2005.
The full BRAC recommendations, additional information regarding community assistance and other details, may be found online at http://www.defenselink.mil/brac.