A plan to shut 22 major U.S. military posts and realign others now is in the hands of Congress. President Bush on Sept. 15 approved the recommendations of an independent panel to close the 22 large bases and reshape 33 other big installations.

Congress has 45 legislative days to review the list. The plan will become final unless lawmakers vote to reject the plan in its entirety.

The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission has said its recommendations will require $21 billion in up-front costs. Much of that will go for new construction at installations that will gain military personnel transferred from bases on the shutdown list.

The nine-member commission agreed with most items on the shutdown list proposed by the Dept. of Defense in May. But the panel spared some high-profile posts from being closed, including the Navy's Portsmouth shipyard in Maine and its New London submarine base in Connecticut.

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