Base Realignment and Closure

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)[1][2] was a process[3] by a United States federal government commission[4] to increase the efficiency of the United States Department of Defense by coordinating the realignment and closure of military installations following the end of the Cold War. Over 350 installations have been closed in five BRAC rounds: 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 2005. These five BRAC rounds constitute a combined savings of $12 billion annually.[5]


The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, passed after the 1947 reorganization of the National Military Establishment, reduced the number of U.S. military bases, forts, posts, and stations. The subsequent 1950s buildup for the Cold War (e.g., during the Korean War) resulted in large numbers of new installations, such as the Permanent System radar stations and Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) control centers. By 1959, plans for even larger numbers of Cold War installations were canceled (e.g., DoD's June 19, 1959, Continental Air Defense Program reduced the number of Super Combat Center underground nuclear bunkers to 7). In 1958, U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) began to replace Strategic Air Command bombers. From 1960–1964, the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations closed 574 U.S. military bases around the world, particularly after President John F. Kennedy was briefed after his inauguration that the missile gap was not a concern.[6]

1961 closures
On March 28, 1961, President Kennedy announced the closure of 73 military establishments.[7][8]
1964 closures
"In December 1963, Secretary McNamara announced the closure of twenty-six DOD installations or activities in the CONUS".[9]: 134 
1965 closures
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced 95 base closures/realignments in November 1964: 80 in the United States (33 states & DC) and 15 overseas.[6] Closures included the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the Springfield Armory, six bomber bases, and 15 Air Defense Command radar stations—a realignment transferred Highlands Air Force Station to the adjacent Highlands Army Air Defense Site.[6]
1968 Project 693
Project 693[10] was established by Defense Secretary Clark Clifford during the Vietnam War for reducing programs and personnel, and the project also closed several military installations.[11]
1969 realignments
The DoD realigned 307 military bases beginning with an announcement in October 1969.[12]
1973 closures
224 closures were announced in 1973.[13][14]
1974 Project Concise
Project Concise eliminated most of the Project Nike missile locations which generally each had two sites, a radar station on an elevated landform for guidance and command/control, and a launch area that had launch rails and stored missiles and warheads. A 1976 follow-on program to Concise closed additional installations.
1983 Grace Commission
The Grace Commission was President Ronald Reagan's "Private Sector Survey" on cost control that concluded that "savings could be made in the military base structure" and recommended establishing an independent commission to study the issue. Public Law 100–526 endorsed the review in October 1988 and authorized the "special commission to recommend base realignments and closures" to the Secretary of Defense and provided relief from NEPA provisions that had hindered the base closure process.[9]: 156 
1988 Carlucci Commission
On May 3, 1988, the Carlucci Commission was chartered by Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci,[9]: 156  which in December 1988 recommended closing five Air Force bases: Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, George Air Force Base, Mather Air Force Base and Norton Air Force Base in California, and Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire.[9]: 161 


The Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990 provided "the basic framework for the transfer and disposal of military installations closed during the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process".[3] The process was created in 1988 to reduce pork barrel politics with members of Congress that arise when facilities face activity reductions.[15]

The most recent process began May 13, 2005, when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld forwarded his recommendations for realignments and closures to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. The BRAC is an independent nine-member panel appointed by the President. This panel evaluated the list by taking testimony from interested parties and visiting affected bases. The BRAC Commission had the opportunity to add bases to the list and did so in a July 19, 2005, hearing. The Commission met its deadline of September 2005 to provide the evaluated list to the President, who approved the list with the condition that it could only be approved or disapproved in its entirety. On November 7, 2005, the approved list was then given to Congress, who had the opportunity to disapprove the entire list within 45 days by enacting a resolution of disapproval. This did not happen, and the BRAC Commission's recommendations became final.



The 1988 Base Realignment and Closure Commission included:[16]


In 1990, the Navy considered cutting 34 military installations.[17]


The 1991 Base Realignment and Closure Commission included:[16]


The 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission included:[16][18]


The 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission included:[16][19]


The Pentagon released its proposed list for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission on May 13, 2005 (a date given the moniker "BRAC Friday," a pun on Black Friday). After an extensive series of public hearings, analysis of DoD-supplied supporting data, and solicitation of comments from the public, the list of recommendations was revised by the 9-member Defense Base Closure and Realignments Commission in two days of public markups and votes on individual recommendations (the proceedings were broadcast by C-SPAN and are available for review on the network's website). The Commission submitted its revised list to the President on September 8, 2005. The President approved the list and notified Congress on September 15. The House of Representatives took up a joint resolution to disapprove the recommendations on October 26, but the resolution failed to pass. The recommendations were thereby enacted. The Secretary of Defense must implement the recommendations no later than September 15, 2011.

Twenty-six bases were realigned into 12 joint bases, with each joint base's installation support being led by the Army, the Air Force, or the Navy.[20] An example is Joint Base Lewis–McChord, Washington, combining Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.


The 2005 Commission recommended that Congress authorize another BRAC round in 2015 and every eight years thereafter.[21] On May 10, 2012, the House Armed Services Committee rejected calls by the Pentagon for base closures outside of a 2015 round by a 44 to 18 vote.[22] Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had called for two rounds of base closures while at the same time arguing that the alternative of the sequester would be a "meat-ax" approach to cuts which would "hollow out" military forces.[23]

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 specifically prohibits authorization of future BRAC rounds.[24]

In May 2014, it was attempted to fund another round of BRAC, although funding was not approved in a vote in May of that year.[25]

In March 2015, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment addressed the possibility of a future BRAC, indicating that the DOD, Defense Secretary Ash Carter was requesting authority to conduct another BRAC.[26]

In September 2015, at the tenth anniversary of the end of the most recent BRAC commission report, its former chairman Anthony Principi wrote, "Now is the time to do what's right for our men and women in uniform. Spending dollars on infrastructure that does not serve their needs is inexcusable."[27]


The following is a chronological timeline of authorizations for U.S. Congressional legislation related to U.S. defense installation realignments and military base closures.

Date of Enactment Public Law Number U.S. Statute Citation U.S. Legislative Bill U.S. Presidential
October 24, 1988 P.L. 100-526 102 Stat. 2623 S. 2749 Ronald W. Reagan
November 5, 1990 P.L. 101-510 104 Stat. 1485 H.R. 4739 George H.W. Bush
October 3, 1995 P.L. 104-32 109 Stat. 283 H.R. 1817 William J. Clinton
September 16, 1996 P.L. 104-196 110 Stat. 2385 H.R. 3517 William J. Clinton
September 30, 1997 P.L. 105-45 111 Stat. 1142 H.R. 2016 William J. Clinton
September 20, 1998 P.L. 105-237 112 Stat. 1553 H.R. 4059 William J. Clinton
August 17, 1999 P.L. 106-52 113 Stat. 259 H.R. 2465 William J. Clinton
July 13, 2000 P.L. 106-246 114 Stat. 511 H.R. 4425 William J. Clinton
November 5, 2001 P.L. 107-64 115 Stat. 474 H.R. 2904 George W. Bush
October 23, 2002 P.L. 107-249 116 Stat. 1578 H.R. 5011 George W. Bush
November 22, 2003 P.L. 108-132 117 Stat. 1374 H.R. 2559 George W. Bush
October 13, 2004 P.L. 108-324 118 Stat. 1220 H.R. 4837 George W. Bush
2005 P.L. H.R. 4302 George W. Bush

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Base Realignment and Closure 2005 - U.S. Department of Defense". Archived from the original on May 15, 2005. Retrieved May 15, 2005.
  2. ^ "Explore Congressional Research Service Reports: List View UNT Digital Library". Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Flynn, Aaron M. (February 23, 2005). "Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC): Property Transfer and Disposal" (abstract at University of Texas Digital Library). Congressional Research Service Reports. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  4. ^ "Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC)". Archived from the original on April 5, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  5. ^ "Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC): Background and Issues for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. April 25, 2019. p. 7. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Highlands Radar Site Closing" (PDF). The Daily Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. November 20, 1964. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2011. McNamara Firm on Base Shutdowns … Temporary Team … Highlands Air Force Station … personnel will be inactivated by July 1966, leaving Army radar unit at base intact
  7. ^ "The Lewiston Daily Sun - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  8. ^ "99 - Special Message to the Congress on the Defense Budget. March 28, 1961". The American Presidency Project. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Shaw, Frederick J., ed. (2004). Locating Air Force Base Sites: History's Legacy (Report). Vol. AFD-100928-010. Air Force History and Museums Program. The passage in October 1988 of Public Law 100–526 removed certain restrictive provisions of the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and allowed the first round of domestic base closings in nearly a decade. ...
  10. ^ Defense Agencies Summary: DoD Project 693, nd, fldr FY 1969 Budget, box 71, ASD(C) files, OSD Hist.
  11. ^ Drea, Edward J. (1984). McNamara, Clifford, and the Burdens of Vietnam 1965-1969 (PDF) (Report). Vol. VI, Secretaries of Defense Historical Series. Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense. ISBN 978-0-16-088135-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013. the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command, denominated a specified command because, although part of the Air Force, it came under the operational control of the JCS.24 Clifford had appointed a group known as Project 693 to determine which programs to sacrifice when necessary.65 ... McNamara test, January 25 66, House Subcte No 2, HCAS, Hearing: Department of Defense Decision to Reduce the Number and Types of Manned Bombers in the Strategic Air Command, 6084.
  12. ^ "Niagara Falls Air Force Units Are Phased Out" (Google news archive). Observer-Reporter. October 28, 1969. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  13. ^ "Kentucky New Era". Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  14. ^ "Lodi News-Sentinel". Archived from the original on May 15, 2016.
  15. ^ "Base-Closing Plan Survives Assaults by Some on Hill". CQ Press. CQ Almanac 1989, 45th ed. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly. pp. 470–73.
  16. ^ a b c d "BASE CLOSURES AND REALIGNMENTS BY STATE: 1995, 1993, 1991, AND 1988" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  17. ^ Cassata, Donna (April 25, 1990). "34 military bases may face the ax". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Spartanburg, S.C. p. A3.
  18. ^ "Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission - 1993 Report to the President" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. July 1, 1993. Retrieved October 23, 2007.
  19. ^ 1995 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission Report to the President (Report).
  20. ^ See Joint Base Background (part 4 of the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam webpage)[permanent dead link] (on Hickam AFB's official website). Retrieved 2010-06-18. To access other parts of the webpage, go to the bottom of the right scroll bar and click on the down arrow (or the "page-down" double arrow). To go to earlier parts of the webpage, click on the up arrow (or the "page-up" double arrow). See Hickam Air Force Base#Internet webpage for a partial list of the webpage parts that discuss joint basing and BRAC.
  21. ^ BRAC panel calls closure round premature - News Archived December 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  22. ^ Military Headlines. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  23. ^ U.S. House committee rejects more military base closings. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  24. ^ Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 113–66 (text) (PDF): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Sec. 2711; page 334; 127 Stat. 1004)
  25. ^ Jordan, Bryant (May 7, 2014). "House Panel Protects A-10, Pulls BRAC from Budget". Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  26. ^ Marshall, Jr., Tyrone. "Senior DoD Official Testifies on Budget, BRAC". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  27. ^ Anthony J. Principi (September 3, 2015). "Time for a new BRAC". The Hill. Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc. Retrieved September 5, 2015.

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