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Records of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment),

Finding aid (Word) 

Historical Note

The Department of the Navy civilian executive position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment) (ASN/I&E) was established on 12 March 1990 to plan, develop, and manage shore establishment and base structure for the Navy and Marine Corps. The full range of responsibility for this position is specified as:

  • Construction, management, maintenance, and repair of facilities
  • Acquisition, utilization, and disposal of real property and facilities, including all planning connected therewith
  • Environmental protection, planning, restoration, and natural resources conservation
  • Safety (except for survivability) and Occupational Health for both military and civilian personnel.

The office holder was further authorized to allocate resources and requirements necessary to carry out these functions.

At the time ASN(I&E) was established, the Office of the Secretary of the Navy included one Under Secretary of the Navy, five civilian Assistant Secretaries (or equivalent) and five uniformed officer billets. The five Assistant Secretaries were: Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Research, Development, and Acquisitions; Shipbuilding and Logistics (disestablished and replaced by Installations and Environment); Financial Management; General Counsel; and Comptroller. Completing the Secretary’s Office were the five uniformed billets of Navy Inspector General, Information, Judge Advocate General, Legislative Affairs, and Programs and Appropriations.

By 2003 further consolidations and changes had reconfigured the Secretary’s Office. Civilian positions now included Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Research, Development, and Acquisitions; Installations and Environment; Financial Management; and General Counsel. The uniformed billets had been reduced from five to four, and consisted of Navy Inspector General, Information, Judge Advocate General, and Legislative Affairs.

The post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment) is filled by a Presidential appointee whose appointment is confirmed by the Senate. The first ASN(I&E) was Jacqueline E. Schafer, who was previously Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Shipbuilding and Logistics, the post abolished and replaced by the new position. For most of the period covered by this collection, Robert Burns Pirie, Jr. filled the post after his confirmation by the Senate on 15 March 1994. He was succeeded in 2001 by the temporary designation of Duncan Holaday as Acting-Assistant Secretary until the 2002 appointment of Hansford T. Johnson.

Robert B. Pirie, Jr. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1955, was a Rhodes Scholar, and studied at Oxford University from 1956 to 1959. He served twenty years as a naval officer, rising to the command of the nuclear attack submarine USS Skipjack from 1969-1972. Mr. Pirie retired from the Navy in 1975 and became Deputy Assistant Director, National Security, in the Congressional Budget Office. He was appointed in 1977 as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics). In December 1978, he was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to be Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics) and held that post until January 1981. In the private sector, he served as President of Essex Corporation and as Vice President of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) and Vice President of the Institute for Defense Analyses. He directed the CNO Strategic Studies Group from 1989 to 1992. From 1992 to 1994 he returned to CNA as Vice President. Upon leaving his post as Assistant Secretary in 2001, he returned to CNA as a Senior Fellow.

Hansford T. Johnson is a retired Air Force officer. His military service included tours of duty as Vice Commander in Chief of the Pacific Air Forces, Deputy Commander Central Command during Operation Earnest Will, Director of the Joint Staff at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Commander of the U.S. Transport and Military Airlift Command.

Most of the collection deals with the involvement of the ASN(I&E) in the base realignment and closure commissions of 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, acting initially at President Kennedy’s direction, established a process and criteria that led to the closing of 60 bases in the early 1960s. Up until the 1970s, the Secretary of Defense had the authority to close and otherwise manage military and naval bases. However, Congress became concerned at its lack of oversight authority on this process, given the national security and fiscal implications as well as the impact on constituent communities in their districts. As a result, Congress passed Public Law 95-82 in 1977 requiring the Department of Defense to notify it of any proposed closures in advance and specifically requiring that all installations to be closed meet the standards of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Subsequently, no bases were closed during the remaining years of the 1970s or during most of the 1980s.

Eventually, the Department of Defense and the Armed Services found themselves burdened with an excessive infrastructure of bases and in need of the savings in maintenance, equipment, and manpower that would be achieved by closing selected installations. In 1983, the Grace Commission recommended that an independent commission be created and charged with studying the issues of base realignment and closure. Congress offered a compromise in Public Law 100-256, passed on 24 October 1988, that established a special independent commission, launching a several times modified but ongoing process of Base Realignments and Closures that continued through much of the 1990s into 2003. This Congressional approval gave rise to a series of Realignment and Closure Commissions, including:

  • 1988 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRCC) with 12 volunteer commissioners appointed by the Secretary of Defense. The BRCC made recommendations affecting 145 installations including 86 closures, five partial closures, and 54 realignments.
  • 1991 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC 1991) with eight members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Congress acted upon the concerns of a number of its members and adjusted the BRAC process in its 1990 legislation—Public Law 101-510. It gave the President (vice the Secretary of Defense) responsibility for nominating eight Commissioners (specifically reduced from the 12 in the 1988 BRCC which Congress had come to consider excessive), required the Commission to use clearly articulated and published criteria in its decision-making, and charged the General Accounting Office (GAO) with assessing the commission’s process and recommendations. The 1991 BRAC recommended closure of 34 bases and realignment of another 48. The 1990 legislation and the work of BRAC 1991 would be used as the basis for future rounds of base realignment and closures.
  • 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC 1993) also with eight Presidential-appointed members confirmed by the Senate. BRAC 1993 recommended closure of 130 bases and realignment of a further 45.
  • 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC 1995 or BRAC ’95) again with eight members. BRAC ’95 recommended closure of 28 installations and realignment of another 104. The Commission also recommended that another round of closures be planned for 2001, the interval allowing the Services and the Department of Defense to complete action on the existing recommendations.

Although as early as 1997 the Secretary of Defense sought further rounds of closures for 1999 and 2001, Congress had allowed the existing authorizing legislation to expire at the end of 1995 and would not allow any new authorizing legislation until 2001. Public Law 107-107 of that year amended the 1990 legislation to authorize a new round of closures in 2005 to be overseen by a nine-member commission (vice the then eight member commission). By 1997, the Department of Defense had reduced its overseas bases by almost sixty percent and its domestic installations from 500 to 400, approximately.

The Assistant Secretary’s Office was also engaged on issues related to the status of Navy facilities that were not part of the BRAC process. These included the Naval Gunnery Range on Vieques Island in Puerto Rico, the ranges and other training facilities on Kaho’Olawe Island in Hawaii, and the status of the wreck of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, the subject of an effort to recover and preserve it for research and display.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of records of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment) (ASN/I&E). It contains records and correspondence relating to the development of Navy policies and recommendations regarding the possible closure or realignment of shore facilities and installations, the establishment and implementation of procedures and formal ceremonies for the closure of installations, publications setting out Navy regulations and policies as well as the publication form of Environmental Impact Statements for installations proposed for closure and realignment, and finally the formal documents and official notifications marking the closure and realignment of installations or facilities. The collection also contains records and correspondence regarding the status and future of Navy installations not included in the Base Realignment and Closure process, including the Naval Gunnery Range on Vieques Island in Puerto Rico and Kaho’Olawe Island in Hawaii.

The collection is organized in 13 series.

Series I consists of administrative and policy files relating to the creation, administration, and routine operation of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment). There are five subseries within the series. Within each subseries, the files are labeled to indicate the documents within and organized chronologically.

  • The first subseries–The Assistant Secretary of the Navy’s Office–includes the Charter for the Office of the Assistant Secretary (Installations and Environment) and files setting out office practices, procedures, and policies. It also holds material reflecting the Assistant Secretary’s role in setting Navy policies and in relations with other governmental branches, agencies, and entities.
  • The second subseries–ASN(I&E) and BRAC–holds files relating to the role of the Assistant Secretary in regard to BRAC–Base Realignment and Closure–policies and decisions, including briefing materials on BRAC issues prepared for the Assistant Secretary for his use in meetings with other agencies and with Congress.
  • The third subseries–The Navy and BRAC–contains files held by the Assistant Secretary’s Office that reflect and/or relate to the Department of the Navy’s role in regard to BRAC. These files include background material on past base closures; Navy plans and reports on possible future closures, as well as prepared public statements and testimony by senior Navy officers appearing before Congress.
  • The fourth subseries–DOD and BRAC–contains files held by the Assistant Secretary’s Office relating to or reflecting the role of the Department of Defense with regard to BRAC issues and decisions. These include documents on DOD policy with regard to BRAC implementation, Navy input into the determination of DOD policies related to base closures and the transfer of base closure property to the other services, other government branches or agencies, or to local communities. It also holds material on the impact on the BRAC process of Fiscal Year 1994 budget decisions in Congress.
  • The fifth subseries holds statements and remarks prepared for delivery by the Assistant Secretary in connection with base closures and other significant occasions associated with the U.S. Navy and its history. Included is a collection of Record of Decision and Federal Register Notice documents for the public notification of decisions to close particular bases, installations, or facilities.

Series II contains records held by the Assistant Secretary’s office regarding external (e.g. RAND, Center for Naval Analyses, Booz-Allen) and internal Department of Defense recommendations, evaluations, and assessments of both broad BRAC issues as well as of specific base closure and property transfer cases. Studies in this series are filed by the name of the originating office or organization.

Series III contains material held by the Assistant Secretary’s Office regarding proposed legislation affecting the BRAC process as well as other DOD programs, and DOD regulations and instructions on implementation of BRAC-related base closures and other activities. These are divided into five subseries and organized chronologically.

  • The first subseries holds material relating to the sessions of the 104th Congress.
  • The second subseries holds material relating to the sessions of the 105th Congress.
  • The third subseries holds material relating to Defense Department-generated proposals for legislation relating to or having implications for the BRAC process.
  • The fourth subseries holds DOD instructions, directives, regulations, and legal opinions of the General Counsel all related to implementation of BRAC base closure decisions.
  • The fifth subseries contains DOD-generated manuals, guides, and instructions for the conveyance of base-closure property to local entities under economic development provisions of applicable law and regulation.

Series IV consists of material held by the Assistant Secretary’s Office connected with the work of the Base Realignment and Closure commissions as well as of the DOD Base Reuse Oversight Team (BROT). This material includes general administrative material including contact lists of designated BRAC officers at military/naval installations, schedules and notes on meetings of the commissions, and memoranda regarding the related legislative mandates and guidelines for each commission. These files are labeled to show which activity they reflect and the nature of the material, and are arranged chronologically.

Series V contains the records held by the Assistant Secretary’s Office on the BRAC commission’s review of and recommendations regarding specific bases, facilities, and installations. These files are organized alphabetically by the geographic name of the installation and chronologically within the set of files associated with a specific base or installation. The case files hold material that can include official memoranda on the current and prospective value of the named base or facility, memoranda implementing a final BRAC recommendation regarding the named base or installation, draft and final Environmental Impact Statements assessing the named base or installation, communications exchanged with local U.S. or with foreign governments having political jurisdiction over the area surrounding the base or installation, press reporting on the BRAC recommendation and proposals from the local community for the future of the base or installation, and collected correspondence from the general public, local governments, and members of Congress regarding the BRAC review and recommendations made affecting the named Navy and Marine bases.

Series VI contains the files of correspondence held by the Assistant Secretary’s office relating to the work and the recommendations of the base closure and realignment commissions. This correspondence includes internal memoranda regarding both general BRAC implementation and discussion of specific bases or installations, as well as applications from other services, federal agencies, or local governments wanting to receive base closure properties. It also contains memoranda and correspondence regarding possible Navy and Marine Corps recommendations for future base and realignment commissions. These are labeled to clearly indicate the nature of the documents held within each file and arranged chronologically. There is also one subseries containing press reports collected in 1995 and again in 2001 by the Assistant Secretary’s Office, assessing the work of the Base Realignment and Closure commission.

Series VII consists of legislation as well as Environmental Protection Agency and DOD regulations, instructions, and policy statements on the environmental aspects and issues in the implementation of base closure and realignment commission recommendations. These include environmental cleanup, environmental protection practices and policies, as well as the clean up of unexploded ordnance (UXO). These are arranged chronologically.

Series VIII holds California State and local jurisdiction prepared reports related to the implementation of base closure and realignment commission recommendations in the State of California. These are arranged chronologically.

Series IX contains the Assistant Secretary’s office collection of BRAC related publications. These include the final BRAC Commission Reports recommending base closures and realignments, DOD and Navy Reports providing their respective recommendations regarding base closures and realignments, DOD manuals for the implementation of base closure decisions, GAO reviews of the BRAC commissions’ activities, DOD guidelines and manuals for implementation of commission recommendations, and the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements on shore installations recommended for closure or realignment. The former are arranged chronologically, while a separate subseries contains the Environmental Impact Statements, arranged alphabetically by geographic name attached to the shore installation.

Series X contains the files held by the Assistant Secretary’s Office relating to Puerto Rico and the training installations and firing ranges on Vieques Island. This series includes three subseries:

  • The first subseries contains memoranda and correspondence held by the Assistant Secretary relating to his participation in the White House Interagency Working Group (WHIG) on Puerto Rico, arranged chronologically.
  • The second series, White House Working Group Correspondence, contains copies of exchanges of correspondence taken for action by the WHIG and requiring input from the Assistant Secretary and the Navy, as well as official internal memoranda addressing the various issues related to Puerto Rico and the Vieques Island installations arranged chronologically.
  • The third subseries contains the Assistant Secretary’s own correspondence relating to Puerto Rico and the Vieques Island installations, including official memoranda internal to DOD or the USG addressing various aspects of the Vieques Island issue, arranged chronologically.

Series XI contains the records held by the Assistant Secretary’s Office regarding training and firing installations on the Hawaiian island of Kaho'Olawe Island. This includes briefing materials, reports, correspondence and official documents relating to the closure of firing ranges and training installations on Kaho'Olawe Island, Hawaii and the islands transfer to the Hawaiian Islands, arranged chronologically. There are two subseries:

  • The first subseries contains the Secretary of the Navy’s Annual Reports to Congress regarding Kaho’Olawe Island, arranged chronologically.
  • The second subseries contains correspondence and press reporting on the training facilities, their transfer, and related issues in Hawaii collected by the Assistant Secretary’s office, arranged chronologically.

Series XII contains material held by the Assistant Secretary’s office regarding U.S. Navy involvement in the location, preservation, and eventual recovery of H.L. Hunley, the Confederate submarine lost in action during the Civil War, as well as its eventual public exhibit. This includes copies of correspondence, Navy General Counsel's Officer papers, and official documents implementing arrangements to support the preservation and recovery of the wreck. These are arranged chronologically.

Series XIII consists of oversize maps, charts, and photographs. This series is housed in Map case 7, Drawers 9 and 10. It is arranged in four subseries: Mounted Maps, Maps, Mounted Aerial Photographs, and Mounted Posters. Each subseries is arranged alphabetically by place-name with the exception of the final subseries, which contains a single poster commemorating Alameda Naval Air Station.

Preferred Citation

Records of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment), Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.

Subject Headings (LCSH)

Military Base Closures--United States.
United States--Armed Forces--Reorganization.
Navy-Yards and Naval Stations--United States.
Military Base Closures--Environmental Aspects--United States.
Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Facility (Vieques Island, P.R.)
Vieques Island (P.R.)
Kahoolawe (Hawaii)
H.L. Hunley (Submarine)
Pirie, Robert B.
Johnson, Hansford T., 1936-


65 cubic feet



Published: Fri May 03 09:44:20 EDT 2019