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Monday, May 25, 2020
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Military Base Closures

Base Closures May Hurt Guard, Reserves
May 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - Closing National Guard and Reserve bases could damage the already weak recruiting results for the two part-time military branches, members of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission told Pentagon officials Monday.

Consolidating National Guard and Reserve members onto fewer bases, some of which are located in remote locations, could create longer commuting times for part-time soldiers, which would make recruiting more difficult, Commissioner James Bilbray said.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the nine-member commission to explain the Pentagon's rationale for shuttering 33 major bases and closing or restructuring 775 minor bases , many Guard and Reserve.

Myers and Rumsfeld said Pentagon planners consulted Guard and Reserve leaders -- including each state's National Guard commander -- in compiling the list.

The Pentagon tried to realign Guard and Reserve bases to make sure no soldier or airman has to travel more than 50 miles to drill , said Michael Wynne, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Six Air Guard or Reserve bases were on the list of 33 major bases marked for closure.

Bilbray and Commissioner Harold Gehman, a former Navy admiral, said they were disappointed the Pentagon hadn't sent them information to back up their decisions. Wynne said they should have the information this week.

Gehman and Commissioner Phil Coyle, a former Pentagon official, asked why only 15,000 of the 70,000 U.S. troops scheduled to return to the USA from overseas bases were listed on base closure documentation.

Rumsfeld said the plan to return U.S. troops from overseas is still a work in progress and that their basing depends on a number of future arrangements with countries in Europe.

The Independent Base Realignment and Closure Commission (IBRCC ) has the authority to remove bases from the list or add others. The commission is required to deliver its recommendations to President Bush in September.

Updated information will be provided to abreast our military community of how the proposed closings will affect those around the continental United States.