BRAC votes quickly on Army installations


The Base Realignment and Closure Commission voted today to close five major Army posts in Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan.  The also panel voted to close nearly 400 Army Reserve centers and National Guard armories and to consolidate these into about 125 joint Reserve and National Guard centers.

The closing of large bases is always contentious, and gets the most attention in the press, but the realignment of the reserve component structure is the most critical  for enhancing the long—term security of the nation.  The current BRAC list corrects the active—reserve force imbalance and will better support the National Guard's planned strategic reorientation towards homeland security.

There had been rumblings in some major press outlets that a few members of the commission were leaning towards placing the 'money saved' factor ahead of 'military value' in the evaluation process.  In this way, some installations could have remained open despite contributing little to the war effort.  Thankfully, the commission stuck to the correct priorities.  Loren Thompson, a military analyst with the Lexington Institute said,

"It's not about just trying to get rid of excess capacity.  It's actually about trying to reorganize the forces for future challenges."

The vote is an extremely positive step for the restructuring of the reserve components.  The list now goes to President Bush, and it is doubtful that any major changes will result from the executive branch review.  Congress then has to give an up or down vote on the entire list, and they have never voted against a BRAC in the history of the commission.  Therefore, the time to lobby the President and his advisers is just over the horizon.  We'll see if people like Chuck Hagel are more concerned with national security, or with bringing home the pork.

Douglas Hanson  08—24—05