At first blush, it may seem that inviting a return of BRAC might only worsen the current chaos in Washington. The nation is still coping with the effects of last year’s divisive election campaign, Congress is enmeshed in a stalemate over budget issues, and the military is in the midst of pulling forces out of Afghanistan and is facing political demands for large spending cuts. Arguably, the last thing all sides want is the stress of a scuffle over which units to realign or bases to close.
But a closer look shows that another BRAC round could prove to be just what the Pentagon needs right now. The current drawdown of military personnel—and commensurate reductions in hardware and support activities—will leave the services with excess (and expensive) infrastructure, from non-essential operational bases, laboratories, and industrial facilities to unneeded aviation training centers. Technological advances in weaponry and equipment, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, are changing the way the military fights, and what it requires. And the nation’s current fiscal plight is intensifying pressure for sizable cuts in the DOD budget.