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Maybe the Military Can Find New Uses for BRAC Sites, Committee Says

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  • May 18, 2011
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In an attempt to jump start the economic recovery of BRAC installations, the House Armed Services Committee is recommending DOD work with defense contractors to consider whether any of the “unique capabilities” residing at closed installations can be retained for military applications, according to language in the report accompanying the panel’s version of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill.

The committee cites secure compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) — rooms that foil electronic surveillance and suppress data leakage — as an example of an asset at closed installations that be would expensive for the private sector to replicate and that has defense applications. DOD also should consider ways to employ civilian defense workers at BRAC communities, a key resource made more valuable because the workers already have security clearances.

The Pentagon “may be able to utilize these specialized facilities and support the private sector in reusing these unique capabilities,” according to the report language. “To this end, the committee encourages the Department of Defense to use all of the available real estate conveyance mechanisms to quickly revert closed military installations into productive, viable business units that support the unique capabilities resident in these local communities,” the report states.

The committee suggests that BRAC installations could be used for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s initiative to develop the National Cyber Range, a virtual proving ground to test cyber research technologies.

“The committee believes that leases in furtherance of conveyance and economic development conveyances represent ideal real estate mechanisms to quickly put closing military installations into the private sector,” the report says.

The committee approved the defense authorization bill, H.R. 1540, last Thursday. The legislation is expected to be debated on the House floor later this month. H. Rpt. 112-78 can be found on the Armed Services Committee’s website.

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