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Defense Bill Raises Bar on Non-BRAC Realignments

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  • January 1, 2013
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Language in the final version of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill would make it more difficult for the Pentagon to skirt statutory requirements to notify Congress when closing or realigning a mission outside of a BRAC round.

The provision is intended to ensure DOD doesn’t sidestep the requirements of 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2687, a rarely used statute allowing base closures and realignments to be carried out when a BRAC round is not in force. Section 2687 requires the defense secretary to give Congress 60 days to review proposed actions meeting certain thresholds:

  • closure of an installation at which at least 300 civilian personnel are authorized; or
  • a realignment involving a reduction by more than 1,000 — or by more than 50 percent — in the number of civilians authorized at the installation.

The new language, section 2712, establishes a moratorium on closing or realigning an installation for five years after a decision is made that results in the facility no longer being covered by section 2687. The provision in the Senate’s version of the authorization bill included only a one-year moratorium.

The provision also requires the Government Accountability Office to review “the process and criteria used by the Department of Defense to make decisions relating to closures and realignments at military installations, including closures and realignments occurring both above and below the threshold levels specified in section 2687 of title 10, United States Code.” That report would be due six months after the legislation is signed into law.

The House and the Senate adopted the conference report for H.R. 4310 late last month, sending it to the president’s desk for his signature. H. Rpt. 112-705 is available on the House Rules Committee website.

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