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Closings, realignments to reshape infrastructure

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Defense Department officials have recommended closing 33 major bases and realigning 29 others as part of a comprehensive reshaping of the military infrastructure through the Base Realignment and Closure process.

Michael Wynne, defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, announced Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's closure and realignment recommendations at a Pentagon news conference May 13.

The recommendations now go to the BRAC commission. The commission will start hearings on the specific recommendations May 16.

If adopted, the recommendations would give DOD a net savings of about $50 billion over 20 years, officials said. Annual savings are pegged at $5.5 billion a year after that.

Ten major Air Force installations are closing, including Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.; Onizuka Air Force Station, Calif.; Cannon AFB, N.M.; Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass.; and Brooks City Base, Texas.

DOD officials define major realignments as installations losing at least 400 people. Ten major Air Force realignments include Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force bases, both in Alaska; Maxwell AFB, Ala.; Lackland and Sheppard Air Force bases, Texas; and McChord AFB, Wash.

DOD agencies in leased spaces throughout the National Capital Area and Defense Finance and Accounting Service offices in Cleveland and in Arlington, Va., face major realignment actions as well.

Forty-nine installations are gaining more than 400 people.

Air Force gainers include Little Rock AFB, Ark.; Peterson AFB, Colo.; Scott AFB, Ill.; Andrews AFB, Md.; and Shaw AFB, S.C.

The bases themselves are only part of the story. This BRAC process had seven joint cross-service groups to examine common business processes in education and training, headquarters and support, technical, industrial, supply and storage, intelligence, and medical.

Mr. Wynne said jointness -- services working together -- was key to creating military value, and military value was the most important consideration as the BRAC process progressed.

"These joint cross-service groups were key to making this jointness a reality in this process," he said. "They each were chaired by a senior executive or flag officer, with representation from each of the military services, from the Joint Staff and from the relevant defense agencies involved."

More than half of the future annual savings, $2.9 billion, of the estimated $5.5 billion is generated from the joint cross-service groups, officials said.

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