New Base Closure Round Would Fit Mold Of Earlier BRACs, Comptroller Says
Defense Communities 360
April 10, 2013
The BRAC round the Pentagon is requesting for 2015 would be patterned after the 1993 and 1995 rounds, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said Wednesday, offering a sharp contrast to the sprawling 2005 round and its focus on transformation and realignment.

When combined with the $2.4 billion implementation cost officials are projecting for the prospective base closure round, Hale’s description paints a picture of a BRAC process with very little in common with the most recent round.

DOD spent $32 billion to carry out the 2005 round, after the BRAC Commission estimated it would cost $21 billion, providing lawmakers with an easy argument against authorizing another round — namely, that it won’t generate nearly as much in savings as the department estimates.

But BRAC 2005 was unique. While the number of major bases closed in that round didn’t vary greatly from the closures in the 1991, 1993 and 1995 rounds, a comparison of total actions across those rounds shows a stark disparity. A total of 22 major installations were closed in 2005, versus an average of 27 in the three previous rounds.

BRAC 2005, however, was responsible for 24 major realignments and 765 minor closures and realignments, for a total of 813 actions. The three previous rounds were responsible for an average of only 115 total actions each.

Implementation costs for the 1991, 1993 and 1995 rounds also were far cheaper than for BRAC 2005. Those three rounds cost an average of $6.4 billion each to carry out.

The 2005 round was conducted during a period of growth in the armed forces, offering another critical contrast with the closure rounds that preceded it. DOD’s focus on realignment resulted in larger construction requirements than in previous rounds, according to the written testimony John Conger, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, submitted to the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee last month.

And so given the present circumstances the Pentagon finds itself grappling with — contemplating force structure reductions to meet declining spending targets — Hale’s description of the Pentagon’s vision of the next BRAC round was not unexpected.

“Given the force structure reductions on the horizon and the budget constraints we face, we have every expectation that future rounds would have more in common with the first four BRAC rounds than the most recent round did,” Conger said in his testimony last month.