RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO Page: 20 of 81
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closing 97 major bases and scores of minor facilities. This time around the Pentagon certainly
intends to save money--a projected $ 49 billion to $ 64 billion over two decades. But today
reshaping the military is as important as reducing waste. With brigades of tanks stationed in
Europe, overlapping domestic research facilities, underused naval stations, and duplicative
training centers, Rumsfeld believes America's bases are still arrayed for yesterday's fight, not
tomorrow's. "Current arrangements pretty much designed for the Cold War must give way to the
new demands of war against extremists and other evolving 21 st-century challenges," Rumsfeld
As a result, the Pentagon's list contained more reshuffling than outright closure. Fort Knox, Ky.,
for example, would lose its armor center and school to Fort Benning, Ga., which already has the
Army's infantry school--but it would receive a new brigade and combat support units returning
from overseas. Each service has a list of shuffled combat brigades, ships, and fighter squadrons.
"We got to ask ourselves: If we were king for a day, how would we redo the Air Force?" says
Maj. Gen. Gary Heckman, who helped oversee that service's realignment.
No meddling. The realignment of bases provides Rumsfeld with perhaps his most important
opportunity to reshape the military for years to come. Although the secretary has managed to kill
off some weapons programs he regards as legacies of the Cold War, many of his attempts at
modernization have been hampered by lawmakers. But the base closure system has been well
designed to keep congressional meddling to a minimum. The Base Realignment and Closure
Commission, appointed by President Bush, will now review the Pentagon recommendations and
has until September to make changes, though major revisions are unlikely. President Bush then
reviews the list and sends it to Congress, which must consider the proposal as a whole; if the
legislators don't reject it within 45 days, the closure recommendations go into effect.
Still, there is sure to be congressional opposition. New England was particularly hard hit by the
proposed loss of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine and the New London submarine base in
Connecticut. Those decisions will most likely spark a fight, despite Congress's limited ability to
tinker with the list. The restrictions have increased the amount of grumbling about the process in
recent years, and so this round of realignment is likely to be Rumsfeld's last. "You have one
shot, and you are not going to have another for a decade," says Ken Beeks, vice president of
Business Executives for National Security.
Rumsfeld believes America is ill-served by having heavy forces sitting in garrisons in Germany
or even South Korea. Indeed, Rumsfeld began asking his regional commanders about American
troops stationed overseas back in August 2001. "All of these questions Rumsfeld asked led us to
the strong conclusion that globally we were in a Cold War posture," says Ray DuBois, the acting
under secretary of the Army. "And you have to ask yourself: What sort of posture do we need for
the next 20 years?"
Location. The essential belief inside Rumsfeld's Pentagon is that because of restrictions other
nations put on U.S. troop movements, forces can move to a conflict from the United States as fast
as they can from a foreign base--as long as they are positioned domestically near railheads and
airports. The Pentagon plans to move about 70,000 troops stationed overseas back home, but
there are some who have raised doubts. Last week, to the dismay of the Pentagon, a commission
appointed by Congress released a report that questioned the details of the overseas withdrawal. Al
Cornella, the commission chairman, said that he did not disagree with Rumsfeld's overall vision
but added that the Pentagon is moving too fast. Before the military leaves Germany, Cornella
says, the Pentagon must be sure it has enough ships and cargo planes to deploy troops from
America quickly. "We will get one chance to do [this]," he said, "and we want to do it right."
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United States. Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. RH3 Media Hearing Book - June 20, 2005 St Louis, MO, legal document, November 4, 2005; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc24404/m1/20/: accessed May 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.