As a result of changing global security requirements, the United States is developing a defense force structure in keeping with revised national military strategy objectives.
The Congress, in response to these changing conditions, passed two defense realignment laws mandating closure, consolidation, and realignment of unspecified defense installations. (Identification of specific installations is made by the component services, subject to their own mission requirements and the specific attributes of the installation under consideration.) These two laws were the Defense Authorization Amendments and Base Closure Act of 1988, Public Law 100-526, known as BRAC I, and the Defense Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, Public Law 101-510, which authorized actions known as BRAC 91, BRAC 93, and BRAC 95. They specified procedures for identifying the affected installations and bases and prescribed schedules for implementing the closure and realignment actions.
Between the two BRAC laws, a realignment action knows as BRAC II was initiated. BRAC II was a discretionary Department of Defense (DoD) action rather than a legislated requirement.
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires the analysis and documentation of potential environmental effects associated with all major federal decisions. NEPA ensures that environmental factors are considered equally with the technological and economic components of a decision, and that the public is fully informed and appropriately involved in the environmental analysis process. The BRAC laws specifically excluded from NEPA the need to consider alternative installations. However, all subsequent decisions related to BRAC actions fall fully within the NEPA requirements. These decisions include the timing of impacts, disposal and reuse of property, and all other activities associated with carrying out the BRAC mandate. While compliance with many other environmental laws is also part of this process, NEPA provides a valuable framework for both integrating environmental compliance requirements and providing necessary information to the decision maker, other agencies, and the public.