With the timing of a new BRAC round uncertain, the Air Force has decided to conduct its own evaluations of its installations that possibly could be used to assign missions or prioritize investments in facilities.
“We need a better understanding of the military value of our installations and to do some more strategic thinking about where to invest our limited resources,” Richard Hartley, principal deputy assistant secretary for installations, environment and energy, told the Defense Communities 2016 National Summit last week.
“We don’t know exactly how we’re going to use this analysis yet. We don’t like this approach because it won’t get us the kind of savings a BRAC would, it’s not as transparent and it doesn’t give us the objectivity an independent commission does. But we can’t assume we’re going to be successful in getting a BRAC, so we’ve got to start a deeper look at our infrastructure,” Hartley said, reported Federal News Radio.
The analysis of excess capacity each of the services carried out earlier this year measured the amount of excess real estate by installation type but didn’t look at the merits of individual installations. That broad analysis found that 32 percent of the Air Force’s infrastructure is excess to its needs.
Hartley said the Air Force would attempt to measure installations’ military value using a process similar to that employed for BRAC. The service’s analysis will rate bases on a variety of factors, including geography, airspace, facilities, proximity to training ranges and likely global crises, and operating costs.
While Hartley emphasized that the Air Force has not decided how it would use the results produced by the analysis, he argued that the service badly needs to shed excess facilities.
“There’s a lot more winners out of a BRAC than there are losers,” Hartley said. “The communities win and the airmen win, because we’re not spreading these scarce infrastructure resources so thinly across more infrastructure than we need.”