Fort Bragg is located just west of Fayetteville, North Carolina. One of the largest and busiest military complexes in the world, Fort Bragg hosts America's only airborne corps and airborne division, the "Green Berets" of the Special Operations Command, and the Army's largest support command. 82nd Airborne Division soldiers and others make 100,000 parachute jumps each year at Fort Bragg.
By population, Fort Bragg is the largest Army installation in the world, providing a home to almost 10 percent of the Army's active component forces. Approximately 55,000 military and 8,000 civilian personnel work at Fort Bragg. Every day approximately military and civilian employees in careers ranging from trades and labor to engineers and attorneys provide the services needed to train, sustain, and deploy the combat forces to America's Crisis Response Contingency Corps and Special Operations Forces. Their common daily focus is on training, deploying, mobilizing, and demobilizing America's strategic response forces and providing first-class services in such areas as retail, recreation, medicine, and education. The Fort provide those services to a customer base of more than 250,000 soldiers, civilians, family members, and retirees.
Fort Bragg occupies an irregularly-shaped parcel of land, covering approximately 160,700 acres (or 251 square miles), that stretches into four counties and Camp Mackall covers an additional three counties. Fort Bragg occupies 161,000 acres , stretching into six counties. Included within this area are Camp MacKall (an auxiliary training complex), 7 major drop zones, 4 impact areas, 82 ranges, 16 live fire maneuver areas, and 2 Army airfields. As we focus on potential force protection threats, we must consider the fact that approximately 75 percent of our acreage includes ranges, deployment and training areas, with the remaining 25 percent dedicated to those areas where people live, work and play. Fort Bragg is a major city, providing approximately 20 million square feet of office buildings, 11 shopping centers, 28 restaurants, 11 miles of railroad lines, a major medical center, 8 schools, 11 churches, 183 recreational facilities, and approximately 5,000 homes housing over 11,000 family members.
The Fort is a significant economic presence in North Carolina, contributing an estimated $4.1 billion annually to local communities. Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base generate retail sales of approximately $2 billion for Cumberland County. Military personnel expenditures have proved to be a vital source of economic growth and development for both the city of Fayetteville and Cumberland County. Cumberland County's median income including military is approximately $29,000 annually compared to $22,000 annually, excluding the military.
In 1918, Congress established Camp Bragg, an Army field artillery site named for the Confederate General Braxton Bragg. An aviation landing field named after 1st Lt. Harley H. Pope, whose JN-4 Jenny crashed in the Cape Fear River, was added a year later. After five years, Camp Bragg became a permanent Army post renamed Fort Bragg. Today, Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base comprise one of the world's largest military installations.
"Camp Bragg" was established in 1918 when the Army needed to expand its field artillery training facilities in preparation for World War I. They chose this location because it met the major criteria: a climate suitable for year-round training and close proximity to a port and rail transportation. The post came into existence in 1918, when 127,000 acres of desolate sand hills and pine trees were designated as a U.S. Army installation. Named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg, a former artillery officer from North Carolina, the camp became Fort Bragg in 1922, after Congress decided all artillery sites east of the Mississippi River should become permanent posts. The camp was redesignated as Fort Bragg, Sept. 30, 1922.
Fort Bragg's rich "airborne" history and tradition was launched in 1934 with the first military parachute jump, which used artillery observation balloons as platforms. However, it wasn't until two decades later that the post became an airborne training site.
The fort grew slowly, reaching a total of 5,400 soldiers by the summer of 1940. With the threat of World War II and passage of the Selective Service Act, a reception station was built here and Fort Bragg exploded to a population of 67,000 soldiers within a year. In 1942, the first airborne units trained here in preparation for combat. All five World War II airborne divisions the 82nd, 101st, 11th, 13th and 17th, trained in the Fort Bragg-Camp Mackall area. The 82nd Airborne Division was assigned here in 1946, upon its return from Europe. In 1951, XVIII Airborne Corps was reactivated here and Fort Bragg became widely known as the "home of the airborne."
The Psychological Warfare Center (now U.S. Army Special Operations Command) was established here in 1952 and Fort Bragg became headquarters for special forces soldiers.
More than 200,000 young men underwent basic combat training here during 1966-70. At the peak of the Vietnam War in 1968, Fort Bragg's military population rose to 57,840. July 1, 1973, Fort Bragg came under the U.S. Army Forces Command headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia.
Today, Fort Bragg is the world's largest airborne facility with more than 45,000 military personnel. Widely known as the "home of the airborne," Fort Bragg houses the 82nd Airborne Division, assigned here in 1946 after returning from Europe, and the XVIII Airborne Corps, reactivated here in 1951. The U.S. Army Parachute Team (the Golden Knights) also calls Fort Bragg home.
Fort Bragg is the home of the airborne. For more than half a century, Fort Bragg has had a proud heritage as the Home of the Nation's Finest fighting forces. The XVIII Airborne Corps was originally activated as the II Armored Corps at Camp Polk, LA., Jan 17, 1942. It was redesignated XVIII Corps Oct 9, 1943 at the Presidio of Monterey, California. The Corp's birthday is Aug 25, 1944. The same day the XVIII Airborne Corps assumed command of the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions.
Today the XVIII Airborne Contingency Corps is the only airborne corps in the defense establishment of the United States and exercises control over the 82d Airborne Division; 101 Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY; 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) Fort Stewart, GA; 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY; 194th Armor Brigade, Fort Knox, KY; 18th Field Artillery; 18th Personnel Group; 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Fort Bliss, TX; 44th Medical Brigade, XVIII Airborne Artillery; 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade; 1st Corps Support Command; 16th Military Police Brigade; 20th Engineer Brigade; 25th Military Intelligence Brigade; Dragon Brigade; 18th Finance Group; 18th Aviation Brigade and 35th Signal Brigade; 2nd ACR.
The Psychological Warfare Center - now the U.S. Army Special Operations Command - was established here in 1952, and Fort Bragg units include the 1st Corps Support Command, 44th Medical Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery, 18th Aviation Brigade, 35th Signal Brigade, and more. Fort Bragg and neighboring Pope Air Force Base form one of the largest military complexes in the world.
Much like a large city, Fort Bragg has its own schools, shopping malls, medical facilities, housing and churches. Almost every type of recreation and athletics is available. Golf courses, pools, lakes, bowling lanes, hunting fields, craft shops and much more are all around you. The Atlantic to the East and the Appalachian Mountains to the West offer a variety in scenery for the traveler. There is plenty to see and do on a short weekend or month's leave in North Carolina. Hunting for dove, quail, deer, and boar is available within 25-100 miles. Good fishing is available within 10-100 miles. Snow skiing - North Carolina Mountains within 275 miles. Point of interest in the area: Blue Ridge Mountains and Pisgh Forest, 275 miles; Lake Tillery, 175 miles; Battleship "North Carolina" in Wilmington, 100 miles; Old Salem in Winston-Salem, 125 miles.
Secretary of Defense Recommendations: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Fort Bragg by relocating the 7th Special Forces Group (SFG) to Eglin AFB, FL, and by activating the 4th Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 82d Airborne Division and relocating European-based forces to Fort Bragg, NC.
The total estimated one-time cost to the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation would be $334.8M. The net of all costs and savings to the Department during the implementation period would be a savings of $446.1M. Annual recurring costs to the DoD after implementation would be $23.8M, with no payback expected. The net present value of the costs and savings to the Department over 20 years would be a cost of $639.2M. DoD estimated that this recommendation would not result in any job reductions over the 2006-2011 period. Environmentally, this recommendation might result in operational restrictions to protect cultural or archeological resources at Fort Bragg. Tribal consultations might also be required. Further analysis may be necessary to determine the extent of new noise impacts at Bragg. Increased water demand at Fort Bragg might lead to further controls and restrictions and water infrastructure might need upgrades due to incoming population. An evaluation of operational restrictions for jurisdictional wetlands would likely have to be conducted at Fort Bragg. Added operations might impact threatened and endangered species at Fort Bragg and would result in further operational and training restrictions. This recommendation would require spending approximately $1.0M for environmental compliance costs.
In another recommendation, DoD would realign Yeager Airport AGS, WV, by realigning eight C-130H aircraft to Pope/Fort Bragg to form a 16 aircraft Air Force Reserve/active duty associate unit. DoD also recommended to close Pittsburgh International Airport (IAP) Air Reserve Station (ARS), PA, and relocate 911th Airlift Wing's (AFRC) eight C-130H aircraft to Pope/Fort Bragg to form a 16 aircraft Air Force Reserve/active duty associate unit. It would also Relocate AFRC operations and maintenance manpower to Pope/Fort Bragg.
DoD also recommended to close General Mitchell Air Reserve Station (ARS).
In another recommendation, DoD would realign Ft Eustis, VA, Ft Jackson, SC, and Ft Lee, VA, by relocating all mobilization processing functions to Ft Bragg, NC, designating it as Joint Pre-Deployment/Mobilization Site Bragg/Pope.
Secretary of Defense Justification: The first recommendation would co-locate Army Special Operation Forces with Air Force Special Operations Forces at Eglin AFB, activate the 4th BCT of the 82nd Airborne Division and relocate Combat Service Support units to Fort Bragg from Europe to support the Army modular force transformation. DoD claimed that this realignment and activation of forces would enhance military value and training capabilities by locating Special Operations Forces (SOF) in locations that best support Joint specialized training needs, and by creating needed space for the additional brigade at Fort Bragg. DoD acknowledged that this recommendation would never pay back. However, it claimed that the benefits of enhancing Joint training opportunities coupled with the positive impact of freeing up needed training space and reducing cost of the new BCT by approximately $54-$148M (with family housing) at Fort Bragg for the Army's Modular Force transformation, would justify the additional costs to the Department.
The C-130 unit would remain as an Army tenant on an expanded Fort Bragg. Careful analysis of mission capability indicated that it would be more appropriate to robust the proposed airlift mission at Fort Bragg to an optimal 16 aircraft C-130 squadron, which would provide greater military value and offers unique opportunities for Jointness. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 7,840 jobs (4,700 direct jobs and 3,140 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Fayetteville, NC, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (4.0 percent).
The third recommendation would realign the 440th Airlift Wing's operations, maintenance and Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) manpower to Fort Bragg.
The fourth recommendation would realign eight lower threshold mobilization sites to four existing large capacity sites and transforms them into Joint Pre-Deployment/ Mobilization Platforms. This action would be expected to have the long-term effect of creating pre- deployment/mobilization centers of excellence, leverage economies of scale, reduce costs, and improve service to mobilized service members. These joint platforms would not effect any of the services units that a have specific unit personnel/equipment requirements necessitating their mobilization from a specified installation. This recommendation specifically targeted four of the larger capacity mobilization centers located in higher density Reserve Component (RC) personnel areas. These platforms had the added military value of strategic location, Power Projection Platform (PPP) and deployment capabilities. The gaining bases all had an adjoining installation from another service(s), thereby gaining the opportunity to increase partnership and enhance existing joint service facilities and capabilities. These new joint regional predeployment/redeployment mobilization processing sites, Fort Dix, Fort Lewis, Fort Bliss and Fort Bragg had the capability to adequately prepare, train and deploy members from all services while reducing overall mobilization processing site manpower and facilities requirements. Numerous other intangible savings would be expected to result from transformation opportunities by consolidating all services' mobilization operations and optimizing existing and future personnel requirements. Additional opportunities for savings would also be expecte from the establishment of a single space mobilization site capable of supporting pre-deployment/mobilization operations from centralized facilities and infrastructure.
Community Concerns: There were no formal expressions from the community.
Commission Findings: The Commission found that this recommendation was consistent with DoD's justification. Specifically, the Commission views that the relocation of the 7th Special Forces Group to Eglin AFB, FL, provides this unit an opportunity to achieve outstanding joint training through its collocation with the Air Force Special Operations Command. Also, the Commission found that this relocation enables the activation of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82D Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC, and it is consistent with the Army's transformation efforts and the Force Structure Plan.
The Commission found that though the Mission Compatibility Index (MCI) tool did not accurately capture all aspects of the base's military value and may appear to have favored larger bases, it appears to have been applied consistently. Regarding Mitchell's Airlift MCI score, the Commission verified that there was in fact a calculation error for the formula assessing the quality of an installation's pavement. Even after correcting the error, however, the base still ranked as one of two of the lowest scoring Air Force Reserve bases, according to the Air Force. The Commission found this recommendation supportable. The Commission established C-130 wings at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia and Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. This recommendation is consistent with the Commission's Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Laydown plan.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found the Secretary's recommendation consistent with the final selection criteria and force structure plan. Therefore, the Commission approved the recommendation of the Secretary.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|