05/09/05 — Wayne waits for news on base

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Wayne waits for news on base

By Turner Walston
Published in News on May 9, 2005 1:49 PM

An announcement of military bases recommended for closure had been expected early this week, but a Pentagon spokesman said today Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is likely to make the list public Friday.

The fate of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base could depend on whether it is on the realignment or closure lists.

According to published reports, a Pentagon spokes-man Glenn Flood said Rumsfeld likely would release the list Friday. Federal law requires the recommendations be made public by May 16.

After the list is announced, the Base Re-alignment and Closure commission, or BRAC, will hold public meetings around the country and visit the bases on the list. The commission's recommendations will be forwarded to Congress for approval in September. Lawmakers have 45 days to accept or reject the final list.

In selecting installations for closure or realignment, the Department of Defense is employing criteria that places priority on a base's value to national defense, but there are other factors involved.

The criteria include:

-- The current and future mission capabilities and the impact on operational readiness, including the impact on joint missions, training and readiness.

-- The availability and condition of land, facilities, and associated airspace.

-- The ability to accommodate contingency operations and rapid mobilization .

-- The cost of operations and manpower implications.

-- The extent and timing of potential costs and savings.

-- The economic impact on nearby communities.

-- The ability of the infrastructure to support forces, missions, and personnel.

-- The environmental impact, including the costs of potential environmental restoration, waste management, and environmental compliance.

Implementation of the final BRAC recommendations must start within two years and be completed within six, according to federal law.

Early estimates pointed to the closure of about 20 percent of bases in the U.S., but Rumsfeld said recently that fewer bases than that might be closed.