According to Glenn Reynolds: "Liberty Dog is a minarchist libertarian with Objectivist tendencies, but I can't even get my dog to crap outside."

Contact me: Email

MSN Messenger: libertydog05
Yahoo! Messenger: libertydog05
ICQ: 222456716
Skype: libertydog

Syndication feeds:



Wednesday, May 18, 2005

BRAC Attack

OK, so The Gun-Toting Liberal, one of my Blog Partners in The Balance of Power, has a misguided post about the Pentagon recommendations (a condensed version can be found here) for the upcoming round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) committee recommendations.

The first thing we need to do is to look at the history of base closures. BRAC, as we know it today, owes it birth to the Presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Kennedy realized that the military needs of 1960s America were different than those of previous decades. Because of this, he directed then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara to come up with a plan for a realignment of military resources more suited to the current needs of the country.

Back then the process, which was entirely internal to the Department of Defense, lead to the closure of approximately 60 bases. There were many politico feathers ruffled and in 1965 Congress tried, unsuccessfully, to involve itself in the process. DoD's control of the process continued until the passage of Public Law 95-82 as codified in 10 USC 2687, which inserted Congress into the picture. This procedure was later modified by P.L. 100-526 and P.L. 101-510.

Under these guidelines, there have been 4 rounds of closures (3 of which I was on active duty for) resulting in 97 major base closures and 55 major realignments. The results have been a net savings of over $16 billion.

Now that we have a little history under our belts and since I assume most of you didn't actually read the applicable portion of the US Code, I will give a brief overview of how the process works.

First, the Secretary of Defense issues a Data Call from all domestic base commanders. This information is used by the DoD to make recommendations to the BRAC Committee.

Second, the BRAC Committee (nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate) examines the DoD recommendations and then makes its own recommendations to the President.

Third, the President reviews the BRAC recommendations with the option of sending them back to committee if not satisfied, then forwards them to Congress.

Fourth, if Congress takes no action, the recommendations are put into effect. If Congress is unhappy with particular recommendations, they have the authority, via a joint resolution, to change them.

So what does all of this have to do with The Gun-Toting Liberal being misguided, nothing in particular, I just thought it a good idea to establish a baseline of knowledge before going further.

GTL makes 3 points in his rant against the proposed base closures. 1) It will decrease our border security thereby placing the US public at risk. 2) Communities that house the bases will be hurt by their closing. 3) It will hurt veterans.

First, there is a problem with saying that base closures will affect border security. It will not, at least not based on the current situation. The fact that GTL wants our troops to secure the border, does not make it so. With a few minor exceptions, our military does not currently patrol the borders of either Mexico or Canada. Therefore, it is impossible for a base closure to have an effect on this issue.

Even if the President were to decide tomorrow to militarize the borders, GTL has provided absolutely no evidence that the proposed closures would have an effect on the Armed Forces ability to do so. Perhaps it will, I don't know, so let's take a look.

The first thing we need to do is to take a look at which states (and territories) have bases on the block and whittle it down to only border states:
    Alabama

    Alaska

    Arizona

    Arkansas

    California

    Colorado

    Connecticut

    Delaware

    District of Columbia

    Florida

    Georgia

    Guam

    Hawaii

    Idaho

    Illinois

    Indiana

    Iowa

    Kansas

    Kentucky

    Louisiana

    Maine

    Maryland

    Massachusetts

    Michigan

    Minnesota

    Mississippi

    Missouri

    Montana

    Nebraska

    Nevada

    New Hampshire

    New Jersey

    New Mexico

    New York

    North Carolina

    North Dakota

    Ohio

    Oklahoma

    Oregon

    Pennsylvania

    Puerto Rico

    Rhode Island

    South Carolina

    South Dakota

    Tennessee

    Texas

    Utah

    Vermont

    Virginia

    Washington

    West Virginia

    Wisconsin

    Wyoming

OK...now that that is done, let's look at each state and see what we have. But first, allow me to first make an assumption. Any troops involved in physically guarding the border will be Army or Marines. The Navy and Air Force will not deploy any ground troops, therefore, I will only discuss Army and Marine bases. (If there is a problem with this assumption, we can discuss it on a case by case basis.) I will also only deal with closures, not realignments.
State
Base Closed
Displaced Military
Affect on Border Security
AlaskaNone
0
None
ArizonaAllen Hall Armed Forces Reserve Center
60
Minimal
CaliforniaArmed Forces Reserve Center Bell
24

Minimal

 Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Encino
33
Minimal
 Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Los Angeles
48
Minimal
IdahoNone
0
None
MaineNone
0
None
MichiganParisan U.S. Army Reserve Center, Lansing
25
Minimal
 Selfridge Army Activity
126
Minimal
MinnesotaNone
0
None
MontanaGalt Hall U.S. Army Reserve Center, Great Falls
14
Minimal
New HampshireDoble U.S. Army Reserve Center Portsmouth
39
Minimal
New MexicoJenkins Armed Forces Reserve Center Albuquerque
35
Minimal
New YorkArmed Forces Reserve Center Amityville
24
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center Niagara Falls
1
Minimal
 Carpenter U.S. Army Reserve Center,Poughkeepie
8
Minimal
North DakotaNone
0
None
OhioArmy National Guard Reserve Center Mansfield
59
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center Westerville
12
Minimal
 Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center Akron
26
Minimal
 Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center Cleveland
24
Minimal
 Parrott U.S. Army Reserve Center Kenton
9
Minimal
 U.S. Army Reserve Center Whitehall
25
Minimal
PennsylvaniaKelly Support Center
174
Minimal
 Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center Reading
18
Minimal
 North Penn U.S. Army Reserve Center, Norristown
22
Minimal
 Serrenti U.S. Army Reserve Center, Scranton
47
Minimal
 U.S. Army Reserve Center Bloomsburg
20
Minimal
 U.S. Army Reserve Center Lewisburg
9
Minimal
 U.S. Army Reserve Center Williamsport
29
Minimal
 W. Reese U.S. Army Reserve Center/OMS, Chester
9
Minimal
TexasArmy National Guard Reserve Center #2 Dallas
90
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center (Hondo Pass) El Paso
106
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center California Crossing
47
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center Ellington
14
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center Lufkin
10
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center Marshall
15
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center New Braunfels
106
Minimal
 Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant
2
Minimal
 Red River Army Depot
9
Minimal
 U.S. Army Reserve Center #2 Houston
2
Minimal
VermontNone
0
None
Washington1LT Richard H. Walker U.S. Army Reserve Center
38
Minimal
 Army National Guard Reserve Center Everett
57
Minimal
 Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center Tacoma
20
Minimal
 U.S. Army Reserve Center Fort Lawton
53
Minimal
 Vancouver Barracks
29
Minimal
WisconsonNavy-Marine Corps Reserve Center Madison
23
Minimal
 Olson U.S. Army Reserve Center, Madison
103
Minimal
 U.S. Army Reserve Center O'Connell
11
Minimal

So, as far as I can tell, the claim that base closures will somehow have an adverse affect on border security just does not hold water.

Second, we now need to address the claim that the government would somehow be perpetrating some heinous act of wrongdoing against the citizens of the communities where the bases that will be closed are located. Is it nice that the local communities have developed ties with the men and women stationed at these various bases? Yes. Will there be an adverse economic impact caused by the closure of some of these bases? Yes.

Here's the thing though, the military exists for the sole purpose of physically protecting us. It is not the job of the military to act as a local welfare system for a town. The only reason that many of these bases exist in the first place is because of the political clout held by the Representatives and Senators of the state at the time the base was opened. Rather than strategic necessity, many bases were opened as part of "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours," deals of days gone by.

The only obligation the military has is to be as well trained, professional and efficient at the job of protecting us as they can be. Bases should exist only as strategic necessity dictates, not to act as artificial economic crutches for local municipalities. In this day and age of out of control government spending, resources have to be used as efficiently as possible.

For some reason, my friend seems to equate number of bases with military strength and effectiveness, luckily such is not the case. Every dollar wasted keeping open an unnecessary base is a dollar not going for improved troop readiness. That is more of a threat to our security than a base closure will ever be.

Lastly, GTL views the base closures as an affront to Veterans. I am a proud Navy Vet and though I am sure it is not his contention that those of us who served our country in the Armed Forces did so because of a desire to ride the gravy train after we got out, that is certainly what he makes it sound like. I am a member of AMVETS and very active at the local VFW post. I have spent hours on end discussing the issues that affect Vets. Though I knew a couple of people while I was active duty that were there solely for the educational benefits, they were not the norm. Nor is it the case with the Vets I interact with during my involvement in the aforementioned organizations. We did not serve to get "perks" and "privileges," we served to help our country. We might be inconvenienced by a base closure, but most of us understand that it helps the military and we are again willing to do what we can to help our country.

Most Vets that I personally know ask only for two things, respect and recognition. I understand that many on the left view these thing solely through the lens of various government handouts, but that is not true respect. You do not measure respect by the amount of taxpayers money you are willing to give to someone else. I am not looking to fill my pockets at the expense of the American taxpayer. A simple thank you is good enough for me.

The Neolibertarian Network


Copyright © S Michael Moore 2005