Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BRAC - Scheduled for Another Attack on Our Military

BRAC - the mere suggestion of the name causes almost everyone in the military to shiver, along with many politicians and civilians employed by the military. BRAC - Base Realignment And Closure.

BRAC was started as a non-partisan, independent affort to reduce military installations, eliminate redundant ones, and realign others for new missions. There have been several rounds of BRAC attacks on the military - hundreds of installations have been closed, thousands of people thrown out of work, hundreds of military communities devestated, and a lot of military capability lost.

BRAC is scheduled to surface again in 2013 for another round of closures. With all that has been closed and eliminated, there just isn't much more that can be cut - without drastically reducing our military capability. That doesn't seem to be a problem for the current administration ... time is almost here to whack away again.

Why is this an issue now? Because the poilitical wrangling has already started. Politicians go to war (almost literally) with BRAC, Congress, and the Admininstration to protect bases in the areas they represent. A politician who can claim to have defeated BRAC and saved a local base is guaranteed re-election.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-NE) is a moderate Democrat, one seen as a swing vote in the current Obamacare battle. He has been reported to have asked leadership of the Senate and the Obama administration to guarantee him that Offutt AFB, NE will be excluded from the BRAC list, in exchange for his vote.

Offutt AFB is home to about 10,000 Air Force personnel. It was the HQ of SAC. It hosts the 55th RW, which operates most of the Air Force's fixed wing intelligence aircraft. It is located in Omaha, which is very dependent upon the base for its economy. Offutt is also rumored to be a big target of the next BRAC list. Nelson would be pretty much guaranteed his re-election if he can secure Offutt's immunity from BRAC.

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