By Robert Salonga
Capital News Service
Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005
WASHINGTON - The commission charged with trimming and consolidating the
nation's military bases expected to submit its final report to the White
House Thursday, with Maryland likely to gain a significant job boost.
Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground and the National Naval Medical
Center in Bethesda are slated to be the state's biggest gainers from the
Base Realignment and Closure process, as more than 9,000 incoming
personnel would be distributed among those and other installations in
"The BRAC announcements have been great news for Maryland and the
nation," Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski said in a statement. "The
recommendations are a testament to the strength of Maryland's military
bases, our military and the communities that support them."
The federal commission planned to submit its report despite active
lawsuits in other states attempting
to block the commission's decisions from reaching President Bush.
On Thursday, the Bush administration asked the Supreme Court to protect
the BRAC decisions.
The suing states, including Massachusetts, Missouri and New Jersey,
had key military bases marked for closure in the BRAC evaluation. Many
jobs resulting from those changes will move to Maryland if the report is
Overall, the base closures are aimed at eliminating 20 percent of the
nation's defense infrastructure and using the projected $7 billion in
annual savings toward modernizing the armed forces.
Once he receives the report, Bush has until Sept. 23 to approve and
send it to Congress, or reject and send it back to the commission for
revision, which would have to be completed by Oct. 20. He cannot make
changes himself, but would then have until Nov. 7 to send the revised
report to the Capitol. If he rejects the revisions, the process ends and
no action is taken on the bases.
After the president approves the report, Congress has 45 days to
decide whether to reject the recommendations. If 45 days pass without
congressional action, the BRAC report goes into effect.
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Maryland's 5th
Congressional District, successfully fought to ensure that the Indian
Head Naval Surface Warfare Center, in Charles County, and Patuxent River
Naval Air Station, in St. Mary's County, survived this latest round of
"I am very pleased with the results of the BRAC process for Maryland
and especially Southern Maryland as it continues to advance today to the
White House," Hoyer said in a statement. "The 5th District will gain
jobs through the process and our bases are in a better position for a
This marks the fifth round of BRAC -- with past rounds in 1988, 1991,
1993 and 1995 -- and no president has ever sent a report back to the
commission, nor has Congress ever rejected a BRAC report.
"It's highly unlikely that the president would send it back," said
Christopher Hellman, a BRAC expert at the Center for Arms Control and
Non-Proliferation, a Washington-based policy group.
"Given the nature and seriousness with which the commission made the
list . . . it would reek of politicking," he added.
White House spokesman Allen Abne said the president has no specific
timetable for his decision other than that it will be made by the
initial Sept. 23 deadline.
Once the BRAC report passes, changes would
have to be initiated within two years and completed within six years.
Package produced for the
Web by Maryland Newsline's Mike Santa Rita. Banner graphic by Santa
Rita. Stories reported by staffs from the Capital News Service Annapolis
and Washington bureaus, and by Maryland Newsline's Kaukab Jhumra Smith
and Kendra Nichols. Interactive quiz by Nichols. Stories edited for
print by CNS bureau directors Steve Crane and Adrianne Flynn.
2005 University of
Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism