BRAC Early Bird 23 May 2005 Page: 4 of 20
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In interviews, commission members said they
would scrutinize the Pentagon's military
rationale and estimated cost savings.
"Where there are significant changes taking
place," said Gen. Lloyd W. Newton, a retired
Air Force officer, "we want to be sure we fully
understand it" and to make sure "it adheres to
Gen. James T. Hill, a retired Army officer who
commanded American forces in Latin America,
said, "We'll take a hard look at whether they did
the right figuring on the dollars."
In testimony last Monday, Mr. Rumsfeld warned
the panel against unraveling the interlinked
decisions that Pentagon analysts made after two
years of study and tests of some 1,000 different
approaches. "I made a conscious decision not to
add anything or take anything out or change
anything," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
The Pentagon said that its proposal, which, all
told, would shut, reduce or reorganize more than
800 facilities in all 50 states, would save $48.8
billion over 20 years.
At least in the testimony last week, the panel
members poked skeptically at many parts of the
They expressed concern that the Army's
proposal to close 176 Army Reserve centers and
211 Army National Guard facilities, and to build
125 new, multiservice Reserve centers, could
"You're going to have a real enlistment
problem," said James H. Bilbray, a former
Democratic congressman from Nevada, warning
that the closings would increase some reservists'
travel time to the next closest training center.
They challenged the Navy on whether a rural
county in Georgia was capable of handling an
influx of thousands of sailors and their
dependents from the submarine base in Groton,
Conn., which the Pentagon proposes closing.
And they questioned why the Air Force wants to
keep Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska and
Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota up
and running, largely for training purposes, even
though thousands of civilian and military jobs
would be sent to other installations.
Panel members also asked why the Pentagon did
not go beyond the proposals to merge functions
like medical operations and truck-driving
school, moving to consolidate other functions,
like undergraduate pilot training and the war
colleges for each of the armed services.
"I don't think you can push hard enough on
jointness," said Samuel K. Skinner, a former
secretary of transportation and White House
chief of staff under George H. W. Bush.
With a painful plan to close some bases,
Rumsfeld launches a new round of reform
US News and World Report
Julian E. Barnes
May 23, 2005
After five years of preaching the necessity of a
nimbler military, Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld last week took perhaps the most
important step in the quest to turn his vision of
the future into reality.
The announcement that the Defense Department
would propose closing 33 of the nation's 425
major bases sent shudders through communities
from Kittery, Maine, to Clovis, N.M. While
some cities like Corpus Christi, Texas, would
probably little notice the economic impact of the
closure, other places, like Rapid City, S.D.,
would surely feel the loss of their bases acutely.
Although Rumsfeld and other officials
acknowledged the economic turbulence to come,
they emphasized that they were taking
advantage of an opportunity to reorganize the
armed forces and change the way the nation
There have been four previous rounds of base
realignment and closure--BRAC in Pentagon
patois--since 1988, and they were all
fundamentally about saving money by doing
BRAC Commission Early Bird
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. BRAC Early Bird 23 May 2005, text, September 13, 2005; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc21929/m1/4/: accessed March 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.