BRAC & Base-Reuse
BENS played a major role in developing the process for closing obsolete military bases, freeing up billions of dollars in savings and allowing local communities to put unneeded military facilities to more productive use.
The Base Closure and Realignment process (BRAC), based on a concept proposed by BENS member Bill Tremayne, was established in the late 1980s to take the politics out of closing bases. The BRAC Commission, acting on recommendations from the Secretary of Defense, prepares a list of proposed closures and realignments to be accepted or rejected in total by the President and Congress. Since inception, there have been five rounds of base closures. From 1988 to 2005, realignment or closure actions were approved at 451 locations.
Despite BRAC's success, the military still has more bases than it needs, causing a drain on money and resources. We assess that the most recent round of closures (2005) fell short of the goals established: the Defense Department estimates only a five percent reduction in infrastructure (as measured by Plant Replacement Value) out of the 20-25% identified excess.
Today, BENS works to re-energize a non-traditional coalition of advocates to support reauthorizing legislation for prudent BRAC rounds in the future. Such authority would give the Department of Defense the capacity to adjust basing structure to match its force structure.