Originally created 03/16/05

BRAC nominees go to Senate



President Bush formally passed along recommendations Tuesday for the commission that will help decide whether Fort Gordon and other U.S. military bases are closed.

Until Tuesday's announcements, seven of nine nominees had been identified by government leaders, leaving two to be chosen.

Retired Army Gen. James T. Hill, of Florida, and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Sue Ellen Turner, of Texas, were the final selections, according to the White House.

The commissioners will serve on a panel that will review the Pentagon's recommended list of base closures and realignments, to be made public by May 7. The commissioners will give the president their findings and recommendations by September.

The panel members must be confirmed by the Senate, which is expected to happen by April.

The president nominated his former secretary of veterans affairs, Anthony Principi, to lead the commission.

The list submitted by the president Tuesday, as required by law, swaps out one nominee for another.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., had submitted the name of John G. Coburn, of Kentucky, a retired four-star Army general.

Majority and minority leaders in Congress consulted with the president before offering their choices for the commission.

However, the president's official list, as submitted to the Senate, replaces Mr. Coburn's name with Claude M. Kicklighter, of Georgia, an assistant secretary of veterans affairs.

Retired Army Col. Thom Tuckey, a military expert for the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, said he understood that the substitution was only temporary, with Mr. Kicklighter serving as a placeholder to meet Tuesday's legal deadline for submitting the names.

"I'm unsure what the issue was," he said. "It probably has to do with availability. They'll need to be available for the entire length of time, and this will last all the way through November."

The president accepted the other six recommendations from the congressional leaders, including:

James H. Bilbray, of Nevada; Philip B. Coyle III, of Los Angeles; retired Navy Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr., of Virginia; James V. Hansen, of Utah; and Samuel K. Skinner, of Illinois.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.

BRAC TIMELINE

The dates listed are, for the most part, simply deadlines for events to occur, not specific dates on which events will definitely happen.

May 16: By this date, the Pentagon must submit its list of bases that it recommends to be closed or realigned. This list, the first "official" list in the process, is not final.

July 1: The Government Accountability Office releases a review of the Pentagon's recommendations for closure.

Sept. 8: President Bush receives BRAC commission's recommendations.

Sept. 23: Mr. Bush approves or rejects the BRAC commission's base list. If he approves it, the recommendations move to Congress, which has 45 days to accept or reject the entire list.

Oct. 20: If the list is rejected by the president, the commission's revised recommendations are submitted to the president.

Nov. 7: The president submits the revised list to Congress, if necessary.

Sources: Defense Department; National Association of Installation Developers

President's last nominees

The Senate must confirm the commission nominees. The Pentagon's list of bases to be closed or realigned - which will be subject to the commission's review before submission to the president - will be released by May 16.

Retired Army Gen. James T. Hill

From: Currently of Florida, native of El Paso, Texas

Formerly: Combatant commander, U.S. Southern Command

Other positions held: Commanding general, I Corps, Fort Lewis, Wash.; commanding general, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; assistant deputy director for Politico-Military Affairs, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Sue Ellen Turner

From: Currently of Texas, native of Chicago

Formerly: Director of nursing services, Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.

Other positions held: Currently a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission

BRAC Commission Nominees:

James Bilbray

Recommended by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
From: Las Vegas
Formerly: Democratic member of the House of Representatives for Nevada from 1987 until 1994
Other positions: Deputy district attorney, Clark County, Nev.; alternate judge, city of Las Vegas; member of Nevada state Senate; served in Nevada Army National Guard

John G. Coburn

Recommended by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
From: Kentucky
Formerly: U.S. Army general (four stars), now retired
Other positions: Commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command; deputy chief of staff for logistics at the Pentagon, Europe and Saudi Arabia

Philip E. Coyle III

Recommended by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CALIF.:
From: Los Angeles
Formerly: Assistant secretary of Defense and director of Operational Test and Evaluation
Other positions: Expert on missile defense systems; served as laboratory associate director and deputy to laboratory director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

James Hansen

Recommended by Speaker Of The House Dennis Hastert, R-ILL.
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Formerly: Republican member of the House of Representatives for Utah, 1981-2003
Other positions held: Served in the Navy; former real estate agent and insurance agent; member of the Farmington, Utah, city council; member of Utah House of Representatives

Harold W. Gehman Jr.

Recommended by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
From: Norfolk, Va.
Formerly: U.S. Navy admiral (four stars), now retired
Other positions held: Commander in chief of the Joint Forces Command; supreme allied commander of the Atlantic; headed investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000

Samuel Skinner

Recommended by Speaker Of The House Dennis Hastert, R-ILL.
From: Illinois
Formerly: Secretary of Transportation, 1989-91
Other positions: Illinois campaign manager for George H.W. Bush in 1988; CEO of USF Corp.; president of Commonwealth Edison Co.; U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, 1975; chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois

Anthony Principi

Nominated by President Bush for Head of the Commission
From: Lived in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., before 2001
Formerly: Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 2001-05 and acting secretary, 1992-93
Other positions held: Named vice president for governmental affairs for Pfizer Corp. this month; senior vice president of Lockheed Martin IMS; partner in San Diego law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps; served in the Navy during the Vietnam War

Backup - Claude M. Kicklighter

From: Native of Glennville, Ga.
Formerly: Retired Army lieutenant general, deputy undersecretary of the Army for international affairs
Other positions held: Currently assistan secretary for policy and planning at the Department of Veterans Affairs