|By Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, Commanding General,
Installation Management Command
The past 10 years have brought a great deal of change to our Army. Not
only do our Soldiers continue to fight in two wars, but the Army is
going through the greatest organizational change since World War II.
Between instituting the Army Force Generation model, reorganizing around
modular brigades and the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process,
our Army looks very different than it did 10 years ago. The BRAC process
is a large part of that reorganization. With its completion on time and
on target in September, the Army will have reshaped its infrastructure
to better support Soldiers, Civilians and Families.
The BRAC commission made recommendations about how to make
efficiencies in the Department of Defense to the president, who
presented them to Congress, and those recommendations became law in
September 2005. Of the 182 commission recommendations, 113 affected the
Army. This BRAC is an important part of the Army’s historic
transformation and has affected many commands, including the
Installation Management Command Headquarters in San Antonio.
BRAC 2005 enables the Army to reshape its infrastructure to support its
forces. It repositions our forces, making them more relevant and combat
ready for the combatant commander. It also creates doctrinal
efficiencies by consolidating schools into centers of excellence and
headquarters and other activities into joint or multifunctional
installations for efficiency and cost control.
Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) is experiencing the largest economic
development in its history with 10,000 Families relocating there. This
BRAC move has transformed the former Fort Sam Houston into a premier
medical complex and the largest medical training campus in the world.
Joint installations, like JBSA, improve training capabilities and
eliminate excess capacity while providing the same or better service at
a reduced cost.
Fort Benning, Ga., the new home of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, is
a good example of how BRAC growth has been handled in an environmentally
and fiscally sustainable way. Thirty-four new projects have been built
there as a result of BRAC and all of them have been designed to be LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified. All of
the new construction supports increased operational capacity and our
On installations across the Army you can see signs of success in meeting
the goals of BRAC 2005. Construction alone has brought thousands of jobs
to surrounding communities.
Expanded installations have caused local businesses and service
providers to grow. Even communities surrounding closure installations
have benefitted by working with the Army to redevelop the surplus
property. But with BRAC successes, there are also challenges. More
people require more schools, houses and emergency services. The city of
El Paso, Texas is a great example of a community that turned its
challenges with BRAC into a success story.
Fort Bliss, Texas is experiencing the largest BRAC realignment in
history with unparalleled growth of 29,600 Soldiers and 45,000 Family
members relocating there. El Paso embraced BRAC, building new schools,
while the state invested $1 billion for transportation projects in the
city and created thousands of civilian jobs. When BRAC and Army
Transformation are complete, Fort Bliss will have enough new facilities
to accommodate five brigade combat teams, a division staff and their
Installation Management Command plays a big part in transforming the
Army’s infrastructure through BRAC, supporting the movement of several
organizations and welcoming thousands of Soldiers and Civilians onto our
installations and into surrounding communities.
This transformation has made us a stronger, more-efficient and agile
organization, supporting a stronger, more-efficient and agile Army.
BRAC is an important part of the largest Army transformation in three
generations. Consolidating and repositioning several major commands will
save millions in personnel and facilities costs and is needed to put the
Army on the path to future sustainability.
We have no way of knowing exactly what the future will look like, but
the 2005 BRAC process better positioned the Army to meet future
The Army has realigned its infrastructure with the new modular structure
and modernized our support facilities, all while becoming more fiscally
and environmentally sustainable.
When it is complete it will be a major achievement for the Army. By this
September, the Army will have completed more than $13 billion in
construction and renovation projects, and a reorganization that will
affect one-third of the Army.
This will all have been done in six years, putting the Army on time and
on target to meet its future missions.