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Air Force ready for 2005 BRAC

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Feb. 13, 2004) -- The Department of Defense published in the Federal Register on Feb. 12 the criteria that will be used in selecting installations for the 2005 round of base realignment and closure.

Air Force Director of Installations, Environment and Logistics Nelson F. Gibbs spoke that same morning to the House Appropriations Committee subcommittee on military construction about the state of the Air Force's BRAC program.

"Air Force professionals at all levels have made great progress to prepare for BRAC 2005," Mr. Gibbs told the committee in his prepared testimony.

That preparation, Mr. Gibbs said, involved the creation of an Air Force office for basing and infrastructure analysis to act as the focal point for Air Force BRAC 2005 efforts. The major commands followed suit, creating their own offices to support the process, he said.

"Today, there are (more than) 150 full and part-time Air Force professionals engaged in preparing for BRAC 2005," Mr. Gibbs said.

Lessons learned from previous rounds of BRAC will help the Air Force better deal with property that may be affected by the BRAC 2005 round, Mr. Gibbs said.

"The Air Force has made significant progress in transitioning the installations identified for closure or realignment in previous rounds of BRAC," he said. "Turning to BRAC's past, the Air Force continues to work with local reuse authorities and other property recipients at each realigned and closed base from the four previous rounds of BRAC to transfer property.

Most importantly, Mr. Gibbs said, the Air Force will be better prepared through the BRAC 2005 process to deed property faster than in previous BRAC rounds.

The Air Force is currently in the process of disposing of more than 87,000 acres at 32 locations, Mr. Gibbs said.

He also told committee members that despite what may be said on the Internet, referring to a fake story that has been circulating for some weeks, no decisions have been made as to what bases will be closed or realigned.

"No one can know the department of the Air Force's basing structure requirements for the 21st century until the BRAC 2005 process is finished," Mr. Gibbs said. "(Air Force officials affirm) that regardless of what may have been published on the World Wide Web, there is no Air Force BRAC list."

Gibbs said the final list of base closure recommendations will not be available until after May 2005.