What is BRAC?
"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.)
What is transformation?
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."
Why is DoD transforming?
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.
How is BRAC transformational?
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.
How will BRAC 2005 be different from past rounds?
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.
Why would we close U.S. installations before we close overseas installations?
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.
How much has been saved through previous BRAC rounds?
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.
How have communities affected by installation closures fared in the past? 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.