Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is a process whereby the U.S. Congress mandates that a list of bases to be closed or realigned by provided to them. The process is designed so that an independent Commission can take recommendations from the Secretary of Defense and provide the Congress with a balanced set of Defense base Closings and realignments that is, as a whole package, the best for the country. To prevent special interests and politics from selectively changing the Commission's overall intent, the list must be either accepted or rejected by Congress as and entire package.
There have been four previous BRACs (see a short BRAC history here) in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995.
The U.S. Congress mandated a fifth BRAC as part of the Defense Authorization Act of FY 2003.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld kicked off the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process in a November 15, 2002 memorandum "Transformation Through Base Realignment and Closure." The following is a summary of what the memorandum said.
- A comprehensive review of defense and security needs requires new force structure to be accompanied by a new base structure.
- BRAC must eliminate excess physical capacity.
- BRAC 2005 should be the means by which we reconfigure our current infrastructure into one which operational capacity maximizes both warfighting capability and efficiency.
- Two senior groups will oversee and operate the BRAC process.
- Infrastructure Executive Council (IEC) - the policy making and oversight body for the entire BRAC process - Chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Defense
- Infrastructure Steering Group (ISG) - responsible for issuing the operating policies and detailed direction necessary to conduct the BRAC process - Chaired by the Under Secretary of Defense for Analysis, Technology and Logistics.
- Primary objectives of BRAC
- Realign our base structure to meet our post-Cold War force structure
- Examine and implement opportunities for greater joint activitys.
- Note - Prior BRAC analyses considered all functions on a service-by-services basis and, therefore, did not result in the joint examination of functions that crossed services. While some unique functions may exist, those functions that are common across the Services must be analyzed on a joint basis. BRAC 2005 Analysis Categories
- Primary 2005 Analysis Categories
- Joint cross-service teams will analyze common business-oriented support functions (reports will be made to the ISG and IEC.)
- The Military Departments will analyze all service-unique functions (reports will be made to the IEC)
- By April 14, 2003 (150 days from the date of the memorandum)
- The ISG will recommend to the IEC the specific functions to receive joint analysis and the metrics for that analysis, to the Secretary of Defense.
- Military Departments, through their ISG representatives, as well as Defense Agencies, should communicate regularly with the ISG to ensure that their recommendations are fully consistent with the joint cross-services teams' recommendations.
- Section 2909 of BRAC 90, as amended BRAC 2005 will be the exclusive means for selecting for closure or realignment, or for carrying out any closure of realignment of, a military installations located within the US until April 15, 2006. (There are exceptions per Section 2687 of Title 10 United State Code
- The Department of Defense will not make any binding closure or realignment decisions prior to the submission of final recommendations to the BRAC Commission no later than May 15, 2005
- Interim Statutory Requirements for the Department of Defense
- Publish Draft selection criteria by December 31, 2003
- Publish final selection criteria by February 16, 2004
- Provide Congress a force structure plan, inventory, capacity analysis and certification of the need for BRAC with the FY 2005 budget documentation.