High Hurdle Would Lie in Path of New Authority for Closing, Realigning Installations

High Hurdle Would Lie in Path of New Authority for Closing, Realigning Installations

The process for closing or realigning an installation under a new authority included in House Armed Services Chair Mac Thornberry’s portion of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill would need to start with a recommendation to the department from a governor that a facility in the state be downsized, a precondition that would preclude DOD from taking advantage of the authority in most cases. The governor’s notice would need to include statements of support from local governments that would be affected as well as a detailed plan for reusing or redeveloping the property.

If the Pentagon accepts a governor’s recommendation to close or realign an installation, it would need to inform the congressional defense committees when it submits the annual budget. That report would need to include:

  • the reasons the defense secretary believes “it is in the interest of the United States” to accept the governor’s recommendation;
  • a plan describing the required work, cost and timing for all actions needed to carry out the realignment or closure, including new construction or renovation of existing facilities; and
  • a certification that the savings generated by the action will exceed the implementation costs within five years after the move is completed, an estimate of the annual recurring savings and the amount of time needed for the savings to exceed the implementation costs.

DOD would need to wait 90 days after it informs Congress to begin carrying out the closure or realignment. The provision also limits the department to spending $2 billion through FY 2029 for carrying out all closures and realignments for which it relies on the authority. Costs would include planning and design, construction, operations and maintenance, and environmental restoration, among other items. The authority would terminate at the end of FY 2029.

The provision for closing or realigning an installation outside of the normal BRAC process, Section 2702, would apply to any size facility, despite a description in the committee’s summary released last week indicating the authority would apply to small installations.


Photo by Carol Highsmith

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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