"In 1988 the Secretary of Defense recognized the requirement to close excess bases to save money and therefore chartered the Commission on Base Realignment and Closure in 1988 to recommend military bases within the United States for realignment and closure.
Congress has enacted two laws since 1988 that provide for the closure, in part or in whole, and the realignment of facilities. Since 1988, there have been four successive bipartisan Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commissions (BRAC) that recommended the closure of 125 major military facilities and 225 minor military bases and installations, and the realignment in operations and functions of 145 others. By another accounting, the four BRAC rounds achieved 97 base closings and 55 major realignments. This resulted in net savings to taxpayers of over $16 billion through 2001, and over $6 billion in additional savings annually.
The principal mechanism for implementing the policy in both statues has been an independent, bipartisan commission. Two of the most pressing issues are providing assistance to local communities economically impacted by base closures and establishing a cost-effective program of environmental clean-up at bases prior to their disposition.
During the decade of the 1980’s, no major military bases were closed, largely because of procedural requirements established by Congress. After several legislative efforts to break the deadlock failed, Congress introduced a new base closure procedure in P.L. 100-526, enacted October 24, 1988. The original base-closing law was designed to minimize political interference. The statute established a bipartisan commission to make recommendations to Congress and the Secretary of Defense on closures and realignments. Lawmakers had to accept or reject the commission´s report in its entirety. On December 28, 1988, the commission issued its report, recommending closure of 86 installations, partial closure of 5, and realignment of 54 others. The Secretary of Defense approved its recommendation on January 5, 1989."