Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is the process for the Department of Defense to transform its infrastructure to meet the future needs of the military. All branches of the military will dispose of surplus property, as a result of closures and realignments, by way of very specific methods and processes mandated by law. The methodology of BRAC as well as other valuable information is available on the office of Economic Adjustment website at www.OEA.gov.
BRAC 2005 closes NAS-JRB (Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base) Willow Grove located in Horsham Township, PA. Navy and Marine Corps operations have been transitioning to other bases upon completion of new construction or renovations at the new locations. Operational closure for NAS-JRB Willow Grove is scheduled for April, 2011 but no later than September 15, 2011. NAS-JRB Willow Grove can be redeveloped by either government, public or private use or some combination thereof. The uses have yet to be determined.
NAS-JRB Willow Grove by federal statue was to have been declared surplus in June 2006. The delay was caused by the special legislation that was passed at the request of the former Governor to allow for the creation of a joint interagency airport installation. In a dramatic turn of events, the Governor, on November 12, 2009, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense advising him officially that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would not be able to afford to undertake the creation of the nation's only state-operated base to provide national defense, homeland security, and emergency preparedness (traditionally federal government responsibilities). Horsham Township Council created the HLRA in 2005 and had expected to have completed the redevelopment plan of NAS-JRB Willow Grove long before the Navy departed. Had the process followed the prescribed course as provided by the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005 (BRAC), the implementation of the plan could have started in September 2011 when the Navy is mandated to close the facility.
The Navy finally issued a declaration of surplus property on September 16, 2010. this was the first official listing of the amount of property that the Federal Government would be disposing under BRAC 2005 at NAS-JRB Willow Grove.
The HLRA has received a grant from the Federal Government for its operating expenses and the hiring of planning consultants to assist with the redevelopment plan and the maze of regulations relating to closing bases. The plan for NAS-JRB is expected to be completed in December 2011. Upon approval by the Navy and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Navy will prepare an environmental impact study that will be based on the proposed uses of the property. This study will take approximately a year and thus the property may not be available for reuse until 2013 or later.