Air Force implements BRAC decisions|
by Master Sgt. Mitch Gettle
Air Force Print News
4/12/2006 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- This Base Realignment and Closure Commission affects the Air Force like no other, given the war on terrorism, the Quadrennial Defense Review, Air Force transformation and force structure changes, said William C. Anderson.
The assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics explained the Air Force BRAC implementation procedures to the House Appropriations subcommittee on military quality of life and veterans affairs April 6.
“Given these many external influences, and as good stewards of taxpayer dollars, we can no longer look at BRAC implementation as an isolated activity,” he said. “We must, rather, orchestrate BRAC implementation activities in concert with the new Air Force mission beddowns, legacy weapon system and force drawdowns, and future emerging missions.”
As the Air Force assesses how actions impact BRAC, it will continue to adjust the requirements needed to meet the approved BRAC recommendations, Mr. Anderson said.
The Air Force formed a BRAC program management office Oct. 1 as a focal point to direct implementation activities. The Air Force started developing its implementation schedule and is working closely with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to refine the schedule, Mr. Anderson said.
The Department of Defense must initiate all closures and realignments within two years of the date the president approved the BRAC recommendations -- Sept. 15, 2005. The DOD must complete all closures and realignments within six years of the date.
The Air Force faces new challenges with this BRAC round. The transformational nature of some recommendations and the level of joint activities and operations formed under this BRAC pose new implementation issues, he said.
One example of transformational joint activity is the concept of joint basing. This concept requires some adjoining DOD installations or installations in close proximity to share infrastructure support and management activities. Of the 12 recommended joint bases, 10 involve Air Force installations, with the Air Force designated as the lead service for six.
The DOD is developing policy to implement the joint base concept by Oct. 1, 2007.
“To implement these joint recommendations, and to best realize its full intent and operational payoff, we are working hand in hand with our sister services, affected agencies and the office of the secretary of defense,” Mr. Anderson said.
Another challenge for the Air Force is BRAC’s recommendation on Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The BRAC recommendation calls for the establishment of an enclave following the transfer of the current flying mission. That enclave is to remain open until Dec. 31, 2009, while DOD looks for a new mission for Cannon. If a new mission is not found by that date, the base will close.
The intent of the Air Force is to explore all options for a mission for Cannon as soon as possible, said Mr. Anderson.
“The Air Force has aggressively pursued the commission’s direction to seek potential re-use, and expects to provide the secretary of defense with its findings and recommendations this summer,” he said.