WASHINGTON — Now that the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's (BRAC) recommendations for reshaping the Defense Department's (DoD) infrastructure and force structure are officially in effect, the future of several military fitness facilities and fitness personnel is unknown. The base closings or reductions could reduce the number of military fitness facilities overall or new fitness facilities could be built on bases that receive a large influx of relocated personnel, says Michael Rojas of Iron Grip, whose military business is facilitated through Life Fitness.
The 2005 BRAC recommendations represent the most aggressive BRAC ever proposed, affecting more than 800 installations. DoD officials said military fitness probably would not be affected.
“It's up to each base itself [what to do with its fitness center], but [military fitness] will probably not be affected at all,” said Glenn Flood, DoD spokesperson. “The military [at the affected bases] just goes to another base.”
It could be two years before closings and realignments begin. The process must be completed by Sept. 15, 2011, DoD officials said.
Kelly Powell, head of the Navy Mission Essential Branch, said that funding schedules would determine whether the base closings would mean not just closings of fitness facilities but also the build out of facilities at other bases. When a base has a substantial increase in its personnel, more money is allocated to its fitness centers, she said.
The future of military fitness professionals is also unclear. In the Navy, fitness professionals could get picked up by another location, move to another branch of the military or even keep their job if their base is realigned and not closed entirely, Powell said. Others may have to apply for work in other areas of the fitness field.
“My belief is that any good people will find employment,” Powell said. “It could be in the private industry, another service or a corporate role. There will be lots of personnel decisions to be made.”
The four previous BRAC rounds — in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 — resulted in 97 major closures, 55 major realignments and 235 minor actions, according to DoD figures. Overall, closing and realigning these installations saved taxpayers around $18 billion through fiscal 2001 and a further $7 billion per year since, officials said. Detailed plans will be developed for every BRAC recommendation, laying out what actions are required to implement them, when they will occur, and what resources are needed to put them into effect, officials said.