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Base Closure Assistance

In his article, “Base Closure Planning,” in the March-April 2004 issue, Lieutenant Colonel Leslie J. (Chip) Pierce does a good job of covering many details of military organizations in transition. It’s obvious that he’s learned many lessons in drawdown. I’ve had command of one unit during an inactivation and two installations during a base realignment and closure (BRAC) process. I have a somewhat different view on closures and realignments.

I agree with Chip’s comment in the box on page 28, “If the Army is serious about taking care of its soldiers [and Department of the Army civilians] and their families, especially during periods of turbulence and change, it must ensure a smooth transition during base closure.” I believe that in order to prove that the Army is serious about caring for the people involved, special teams must be trained to provide command and control of installations during a BRAC. These realignment and closure teams must have the ability to do what is necessary to close an installation regardless of what a parent organization may say. They also must have the latitude to coordinate actions with many organizations during a realignment.

Each team should include a BRAC commander, an environmental expert, a property expert, a security expert, and a top-notch personnel expert. This is all the expertise needed on a BRAC team. The team would be assigned to a targeted BRAC installation and would not leave until the closure or alignment was complete.
The merits of having teams that are trained to provide command and control during the turmoil are obvious. Usually, the first people to “jump ship” in the midst of closure are the most marketable employees. Normally, these employees are in critical positions and they understand how the personnel system works. Thus, they manage to take care of themselves and move out early, which can have a serious impact on the closure process as a whole.

The realignment and closure teams would be trained to arrive at the installation and immediately assume the duties of, or provide transition for, key personnel who are preoccupied with taking care of their families and themselves. (By law, BRAC is a 6-year process, although it can be executed in less time.) The teams would become intimately familiar with property, processes, and people fairly quickly and would know how to take care of Government personnel and their families during the process. The teams would be trained to address many other details, such as handling violence in the workplace, theft, and mission degradation, until closure or realignment.

With BRAC 05 possibly looming on the horizon, the Army must quickly develop a strategy for taking care of the people who have devoted their lives to supporting Army programs. Failure to take care of these people consistently and successfully will result in failure of the Army as an organization.

LTC Thomas S. Schorr, Jr.
Independence, Missouri


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Worldwide Logistics
Training Workshop Scheduled

The Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) 2005 Worldwide Logistics Training Workshop will be held 7 to 11 March 2005 at the Sparkman Complex at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. The workshop will provide updates and workshops on current and emerging capabilities, policies, and procedures; hands-on computer training on the Army’s logistics capabilities; problem-solving of logistics issues and concerns; help-desk support; professional development; and information-sharing. For more information, call (256) 313–6698 or send an email to marcia.byrnes@us.army.mil.