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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Congress Lengthens Notice Requirement for Certain Realignments outside of BRAC

  • January 3, 2013
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The Defense Department will need to provide Congress 90 days’ notice before reducing the number of military personnel assigned to an installation by more than 1,000, under the final version of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill.

The current statute, 10 U.S.C. Section 993, requires only a 21-day notice period before the department carries out a realignment of that magnitude. The language in the authorization measure also modifies the required justification, directing DOD to submit an analysis of the costs and benefits of the planned force reduction, and an evaluation “of the local economic, strategic and operational consequences.”

President Obama signed the annual policy bill for defense on Wednesday.

The provision, sec. 2851, was added to both the House and Senate versions of the legislation in response to the Air Force’s far-reaching proposal to trim its force structure included in its FY 2013 budget request. Alaska’s congressional delegation was upset over the service’s plan to move an F-16 squadron from Eielson AFB in Fairbanks to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, located near Anchorage. Lawmakers representing the Pittsburgh area similarly wanted to block DOD from carrying out major realignments without congressional input. Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station was slated to close under the Air Force’s budget proposal.

The requirements would not apply during a BRAC round or if the president certifies that the realignment is needed for reasons of national security or a military emergency. The provision is separate from another requirement Congress included in the authorization bill to make it more difficult for DOD to carry out realignments outside of BRAC.

The conference report for H.R. 4310, H. Rpt. 112-705, as well as the joint explanatory statement, are available on the House Rules Committee website.

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