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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Pentagon has released guidelines officials can use when deciding which stateside bases should be closed or realigned beginning in 2005.

By law, the Defense Department must submit the recommendations to the Federal Register, which publishes the criteria, and then a 30-day public comment period follows, Pentagon spokesman Glenn Flood said.

The Base Realignment and Closure process does not affect overseas bases. However, the European Command’s transformation plan would close some bases in western Europe but open smaller ones in eastern Europe.

By May 2005, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld must submit a list of bases to be closed or realigned to the independent Base Closure and Realignment Commission, or BRAC, and will use the published criteria to make the decisions, Flood said.

The final list of guidelines must be delivered to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees by Feb. 16. Congressional hearings will follow.

The eight Pentagon recommended criteria are:

• The current and future mission capabilities and the impact on operational readiness of the Defense Department’s total force, including the impact on joint warfighting, training and readiness.• The availability and condition of land, facilities and associated airspace (including training areas suitable for maneuver by ground, naval, or air forces throughout a diversity of climate and terrain areas and staging areas for the use of the Armed Forces in homeland defense missions) at both existing and potential receiving locations.• The ability to accommodate contingency, mobilization, and future total force requirements at both existing and potential receiving locations to support operations and training.• The cost of operations and the manpower implications.• The extent and timing of potential costs and savings, including the number of years, beginning with the date of completion of the closure or realignment, for the savings to exceed the costs.• The economic impact on existing communities in the vicinity of military installations.• The ability of both the existing and potential receiving communities’ infrastructure to support forces, missions, and personnel.• The environmental impact, including the impact of costs related to potential environmental restoration, waste management, and environmental compliance activities.

Flood said no decisions have been made as to which stateside bases might be closed or realigned.

The 2005 round will be the fifth round. Previous BRAC rounds in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 resulted in 97 major domestic bases picked for closure, 55 for realignment and 235 minor installations to be either closed or realigned.

Anyone can submit comments about the criteria or some of their own by writing to the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment), Attn: Peter Potochney, Base Realignment and Closure, Room 3D814, The Pentagon, Washington D.C. 203301-3300.

BRAC information is available online at: www.defenselink.mil/brac.

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