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Congressional AmbivalenceThe Political Burdens of Constitutional Authority$
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Jasmine Farrier

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813192628

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813192628.001.0001

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To Close or not to Close, that is the Question

To Close or not to Close, that is the Question

BRAC, 1988–2005

(p.44) (p.45) 2 To Close or not to Close, that is the Question
Congressional Ambivalence

Jasmine Farrier

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter focuses on the cycle of institutional ambivalence of Congress as seen in the past two decades of the base realignment and closure process. From 1988 to 2005, the House and the Senate organized and supported five rounds of bipartisan BRAC commissions, which gave the Department of Defense and civilian panelists extraordinary power to enact national military policy almost unilaterally while attempting to insulate members from the painful decision to shut down local installations. Over the same time period, however, presidents, the branch services of the DoD, and even the BRAC commissions have been themselves accused of playing politics with base closings, proving that conceptions of the national interest in military policy are quite subjective. Members of the House and the Senate have repeatedly tried to thwart these commissions in various ways, including delaying the commissions' work, lobbying the DoD directly on behalf of a base, and introducing bills to ensure that the federal government compensates the affected districts.

Keywords:   base realignment and closure process, BRAC commissions, institutional ambivalence, Department of Defense, national military policy, federal government, House, Senate

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