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American Forces Press Service

BRAC 2005: Army Looks to Help Reshape Total Force

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2005 The U.S. Army looks on the base realignment and closure process as a chance to reshape the total force, Army Secretary Francis Harvey told the BRAC commission today.

Harvey and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker spoke of how the process allows the Army to continue efforts to transform the force.

Military value was at the heart of all Army BRAC recommendations, the leaders said, with the realization that soldiers will be working more and more with members of other services. "The Army has aggressively undertaken a comprehensive effort to develop a force that is more expeditionary, joint, deployable, flexible and adaptive," Francis said. The BRAC recommendations will allow the service to transform from a Cold War force to one ready to confront the threats of the 21st century, he added.

Harvey said the Army worked to "streamline" the service to better meet current and future threats. It also wanted to eliminate infrastructure no longer needed. Complicating the Army decision was providing bases for thousands of soldiers and their families returning from overseas as part of the changing DoD global footprint.

The service examined 97 major installations and ranked them according to the criteria in the BRAC law, the officials explained. Military value was the most important criterion, they said.

Overall, the Defense Department recommends closing 15 Army installations and seven leased sites. It also recommends closing 176 Army Reserve installations and 211 Army National Guard facilities. The Guard sites can close only with the approval of state governors.

The department also recommends creating seven training centers of excellence, seven joint technical and research facilities and four joint material and logistics facilities.

The service looked at more than 4,000 Army Reserve and Army National Guard facilities. Harvey said state adjutants general and Army Reserve Regional Readiness commanders participated in the analyses. "The military value criteria was used to identify existing or new installations in the same demographic area that provide enhanced homeland defense, training and mobilization capabilities," Harvey said. "The Army sought to create multi-component facilities - National Guard, Army Reserve and active Army - and multi-service, joint facilities to enhance mission accomplishment."

Harvey said the Army's recommendations went to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in broad categories. The first category realigned active duty operational forces including those returning from overseas. Second, the service worked to realign or close reserve component installations to transform command and control functions and force structure. The proposal also creates Armed Forces Reserve Centers.

The third priority was to close or realign installations to consolidate headquarters and create joint installations.

The fourth priority realigned installations to create joint or service training centers of excellence. The fifth priority was aimed at transforming service logistics.

Finally, the service proposed realigning the Defense research, development, testing and evaluation organizations to create joint centers of excellence.

Harvey stressed the BRAC is inextricably linked to the Army's push to create a "modular force" based on brigades rather than divisions.

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