Washington —Members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) are denouncing a plan to close military installations around the country based on recommendations from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).
AFGE, which represents some 300,000 civilian Defense workers, is asking the Defense Department to consider a two-year delay in the BRAC process based on the fact that the closure process will disrupt the work of the thousands of civilian workers committed to supporting the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as current efforts to secure the homeland.
"Our troops are already committed to the war in Iraq, and we’re still trying to defend ourselves against future terrorist attacks here at home," says AFGE National President John Gage. "This is not the time to scale back and close military installations that provide valuable services and equipment that help keep us safe."
"We also intend to make sure that this BRAC round is not used as a backdoor means of privatization and outsourcing," says Gage.
AFGE representatives also argue that the impending BRAC closures will be costly and will needlessly put loyal employees out of work.
"The Defense Department always says that BRAC closures will save taxpayers money, but that never happens," says Gage. "In the meantime, thousands of loyal workers will lose their jobs and entire communities will be destabilized because military installations are usually the biggest employers, especially in rural areas."
BRAC was put into place in 1988. The four previous BRAC closure rounds occurred in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995. According to the Defense Department, the BRAC process has resulted in nearly 100 major closures, 55 major realignments and 235 minor actions.