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Military

Officials focus on needs with BRAC recommendations

by Maj. Dave Honchul
Air Combat Command Public Affairs


5/12/2005 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- Comprehensive and impartial is the assessment of Air Force officials on the process used in determining the secretary of defense’s recommendations of installations sent to the independent Defense Base Realignment and Closure commission.

The recommendations, which are scheduled to be released May 13, are focused on making the most efficient and effective use of all the Defense Department’s resources, Pentagon officials said. Additionally, they will improve operational efficiencies, save taxpayer dollars and continue DOD's transformation.

“BRAC will transform the Air Force by maximizing its warfighting capability,” said Gerald F. "Fred" Pease Jr., deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for basing and infrastructure analysis. “Closing and realigning certain installations allows the Air Force to base its reduced 2025 force structure at installations of high military value and to create fewer, larger, more combat-effective squadrons.”

In addition, Mr. Pease said, BRAC allows the Air Force to realign its infrastructure to meet future defense strategy, eliminate excess physical capacity and capitalize on opportunities for joint activity.

The process to determine Air Force BRAC recommendations used “comprehensive and impartial analysis” across the board, Mr. Pease said. “All installations were evaluated equally.

“The Air Force used military value as the predominate consideration in making its closure and realignment recommendations,” he said. “All recommendations were based on legally mandated BRAC selection criteria and a 20-year force-structure plan.”

The release of the secretary of defense’s recommendations is just the beginning step in the BRAC process, Mr. Pease said. The nine-person commission, which can add to, expand or remove installations from the list, will review the recommendations. It takes the approval of seven commissioners to add or expand a recommendation, and only a simple majority to remove one.

“The commission will solicit community inputs once it receives the recommendations,” he said. “People will be able to provide inputs by calling or writing to the commission. The commission also plans to set up a Web page.”

The commission has until Sept. 8 to send its recommendations to the president. Historically, about 85 percent of past DOD recommendations have been accepted by the commission.

Mr. Pease said there is still a long way to go with the process, and no immediate actions will result from the release of the secretary’s recommendations.

“The Air Force understands the impact BRAC can have on the military and civilian communities,” he said. “But the end result will be a more effective Air Force that continues to be the best trained and equipped in the world.”



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