Base-closing review teams tap database
- By Dawn S. Onley
- Mar 17, 2004
Congress has mandated specific times, dates and events for base closures and realignments, DLA's Frank O'Rourke says.
For almost two decades, the military has been closing and realigning installations to save billions of dollars and to reduce the redundancies that grew out of Cold War military buildups.
But the matter isn't as simple as turning off the lights and reaping financial and operational benefits. Selecting which bases should close to maximize benefits while maintaining military effectiveness requires careful consideration of numerous factors.
With another round of base realignment and closures coming up next year, at least seven Defense agencies are using a database application to automate the tedious process.
The agencies have signed contracts with Vista Technology Services of Herndon, Va., for an automated data collection tool the company created with the Army called Odin. The contracts total $1 million.
The Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990 required Defense to identify sites that could be closed or realigned.Plans on the way
The agencies will present their latest recommendations early next year to Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who will review them and make recommendations to Congress.
'There are a whole series of congressionally mandated times, dates and events in the process,' said Frank O'Rourke, chief of the Base Realignment and Closure Office at the Defense Logistics Agency.
DOD brass want to make forces lighter and more agile and get a full picture of global assets. The Defense Department started to re-evaluate military strategy shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. O'Rourke said the Office of the Secretary of Defense instructed all agencies to use a data collection tool to facilitate the work.
The Odin system uses an Oracle9i database to help military agencies analyze the property and infrastructure within their installations. The system integrates data so users can also track financial and environmental issues that need to be considered.
At DLA, dozens of disposal offices and hundreds of fuel sites and depots around the world have been incorporated into the data collection system. DLA has about 30 people working on the BRAC 2005 initiative.
'The repository of all of the data is at Fort Belvoir,' O'Rourke said. 'That allows every person in the chain of approval to authenticate the data and have the opportunity to review it.'
Vista helps process queries against the data collected and provides a help desk, training, analytical support, and application maintenance and modifications.
The company helped the Army's Office of Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management get a grip on which installations to recommend for consolidation and which ones to close, said David Yentzer, the office's former installation planning division director.
'Fundamentally, what we found in the Army is that small, single-mission installations were very inefficient,' Yentzer said.
Vista helped the office analyze its bases and assets using the real property inventory system. The company also provided facility updates every six months, he said.