October 12, 2005 | Special Report on National Security and Defense
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process is almost complete. It is up to Congress to finish the race toward a better military, stronger civilian economy, and stronger America. The PDF file contains a compilation of The Heritage Foundation's research on the 2005 BRAC round. The publication argues that base closures are important for military modernization and fiscal responsibility and that, furthermore, base closings can create opportunities for private economic development. Congress should focus on efficiently and effectively protecting the United States, not on saving specific bases.
BRAC is one of the most important-and controversial-issues affecting the future health of the armed forces, and it is critical to U.S. national security. It balances national defense priorities, supports the Pentagon's military modernization objective, saves the Department of Defense billions of dollars each year, and creates opportunities for private economic development.
BRAC recommendations are made in conjunction with clearly defined selection criteria. Future mission capabilities and the impact on operations are the list's overriding considerations, but economic impact is also measured. The fact is that conditions change, affecting the utility of many bases and how individual bases contribute to overall national security.
While the BRAC process makes a major contribution to advancing the Pentagon's larger transformation objective, there is no doubt that the closure or realignment of a base, with the accompanying economic considerations, makes for contentious political and public debate. Nonetheless, BRAC is necessary because it:
Strategic Move Forward
BRAC is part of a larger move toward an improved U.S. military and more vibrant local economies. Congress should make BRAC decisions based on national security requirements, not political considerations. This packet outlines the reasons why Congress should not act to reject the BRAC list.