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BRAC: On time and on target

June 8, 2011

By Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Installation Management Command

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The past 10 years have brought a great deal of change to our Army. Not only do our Soldiers continue to fight in two wars, but the Army is going through the greatest organizational change since World War II. Between instituting the Army Force Generation model, reorganizing around modular brigades and the Base Realignment and Closure process, our Army looks very different than it did 10 years ago. The BRAC process is a large part of that reorganization. With its completion on time and on target in September, the Army will have reshaped its infrastructure to better support Soldiers, Civilians and Families.

The Base Realignment and Closure commission made recommendations about how to make efficiencies in the Department of Defense to the president, who presented them to Congress and those recommendations became law in September 2005. Of the 182 commission recommendations, 113 affected the Army. This BRAC is an important part of the Army’s historic transformation and has affected many commands, including the Installation Management Command Headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.

BRAC 2005 enables the Army to reshape its infrastructure to support its forces. It repositions our forces, making them more relevant and combat ready for the combatant commander. It also creates doctrinal efficiencies by consolidating schools into centers of excellence and headquarters and other activities into joint or multifunctional installations for efficiency and cost control.

Joint Base San Antonio is experiencing the largest economic development in its history with 10,000 Families relocating here. This BRAC move has transformed the former Fort Sam Houston into a premier medical complex and the largest medical training campus in the world. Joint installations, like JBSA, improve training capabilities and eliminate excess capacity while providing the same or better service at a reduced cost.

Fort Benning, the new home of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, is a good example of how BRAC growth has been handled in an environmentally and fiscally sustainable way. Thirty-four new projects have been built there as a result of BRAC and all of them have been designed to be LEED Silver certified. All of the new construction supports increased operational capacity and our war-fighting capability.

On installations across the Army you can see signs of success in meeting the goals of BRAC 2005. Construction alone has brought thousands of jobs to surrounding communities. Expanded installations have caused local businesses and service providers to grow. Even communities surrounding closure installations have benefitted by working with the Army to redevelop the surplus property. But with BRAC successes, there are also challenges. More people require more schools, houses and emergency services. The city of El Paso is a great example of a community that turned its challenges with BRAC into a success story.

Fort Bliss is experiencing the largest BRAC realignment in history with unparalleled growth of 29,600 Soldiers and 45,000 Family members relocating there. El Paso embraced BRAC, building new schools, while the state invested $1 billion for transportation projects in the city and creating thousands of civilian jobs. When BRAC and Army Transformation are complete, Fort Bliss will have enough new facilities to accommodate 5 brigade combat teams, a division staff and their Families.

IMCOM plays a big part in transforming the Army’s infrastructure through BRAC, supporting the movement of several organizations and welcoming thousands of Soldiers and Civilians onto our installations and into surrounding communities. This transformation has made us a stronger more efficient and agile organization, supporting a stronger, more efficient and agile Army.

BRAC is an important part of the largest Army transformation in three generations. Consolidating and repositioning several major commands will save millions in personnel and facilities costs and is needed to put the Army on the path to future sustainability.

We have no way of knowing exactly what the future will look like, but the 2005 BRAC process better positioned the Army to meet future challenges. The Army has realigned its infrastructure with the new modular structure and modernized our support facilities, all while becoming more fiscally and environmentally sustainable. When it is complete it will be a major achievement for the Army. By this September, the Army will have completed over $13 billion in construction and renovation projects, and a reorganization that will affect one-third of the Army. This will all have been done in six years putting the Army on time and on target to meet its future missions.

Support and Defend
Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch

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