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Conversations with History: Base Realignment and Closure

Gazing Beneath its Troubled Surface
By: 1st Lt. Nick Nowland, USAF

There is a dubious honor shared by a host of military bases located in less-desirable locations across America. Just as the ancient Romans attached sobriquets to leading men’s names (think of Scipio Africanus winning the addition of Africanus after defeating the Carthaginians in Africa), so should the Department of Defense (DoD) start adding “BRAC Survivor” onto many bases names. This honor could act as a reminder that while some bases have been measured in the balance and found wanting, others have passed the test and will exist at least until the next Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission rears its head. BRAC is the process Congress has assigned the DoD to shut down bases and close infrastructure. However, BRAC’s efforts to consolidate military bases and reduce redundancy are actually at odds with the needs of an American military preparing to fight China and Russia. BRAC’s efforts during the late-20th and early-21st centuries have garnered questionable savings for the DoD and have damaged America’s ability to win and survive a modern war with a peer threat.

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