Reducing unneeded infrastructure has historically been difficult for the Department of Defense (DOD) due to its extensive portfolio of facilities, public concern about the economic effects of closing military bases on communities, the perceived lack of impartiality of its process for making decisions on realignments and closures, and legal requirements.
- DOD has faced long term challenges in maintaining its extensive portfolio of facilities and reducing unneeded infrastructure. The statutory purpose of base realignments and closures (BRAC) is to provide a fair process that will result in the timely closure and realignment of military installations inside the United States. Over the past 25 years, DOD has relied on five rounds of BRAC to reduce and reshape its domestic base structure.
- The most recent BRAC round, which DOD implemented between 2005 and late 2011, was the fifth such round undertaken by DOD since 1988 and was the biggest, most complex, and costliest BRAC round ever. During the BRAC 2005 round, DOD implemented hundreds of BRAC actions that affected more than 800 defense locations in the United States.
- Senior DOD officials have stated that DOD continues to have excess infrastructure and that additional BRAC rounds may be needed to make further reductions and achieve cost savings. In the event that DOD undertakes future rounds, the BRAC process will help DOD to better match its infrastructure to its force structure in supporting military missions and readiness.