BRAC Request a Political Gambit, Some Believe
The Pentagon’s intention to ask Congress to hold a BRAC round may be just a maneuver to preempt up to $600 billion in automatic spending cuts slated to go into effect starting in one year, say some analysts and lawmakers.
“All that’s going to do is get a lot of the members very upset at them, this kind of political gamesmanship,” Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D) told the Nashua Telegraph. “I hope that’s not the strategy.”
Or the announcement last week by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta may have been intended as a distraction from the deeper spending cuts outlined as part of DOD’s plan to slash spending by $487 billion through 2021, suggested Lawrence Korb, a budget expert at the Center for American Progress.
“It’s a sideshow to the main budget,” Korb told the paper. “It’s very clever” of the Pentagon, he said.
By not counting potential savings from a BRAC round in the budget, DOD officials likely aren’t serious about pursuing the proposal, said Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Of course, Panetta made a case for considering new closures or realignments, linking the need to a declining force structure.
“As we draw down the force, we’ve got to take a look at the infrastructure that’s supporting the remaining force. And the reality is that we are going to have to be able to reduce that infrastructure,” Panetta said last week.
“This is not a shot across anybody’s bow,” emphasized DOD spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby.