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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Broad Coalition Pushes to Close Overseas Bases ahead of Domestic Ones

  • January 30, 2012
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Now is the time to reassess the military’s global posture, given rising support from a bipartisan group of lawmakers for such an initiative and the potential to save tens of billions of dollars, according to a commentary in Federal Times.

While Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last week the administration will request use of the BRAC process, the nation maintains nearly 700 bases outside the United States, writes Raymond DuBois, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and David Vine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University. DuBois served as deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment from 2001 to 2005.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and the Center for American Progress have estimated that closing bases in Europe and Asia could save $70 billion by 2021; a separate estimate from the Institute for Policy Studies projects the savings could reach $184 billion over 10 years.

Modern technology and prepositioned equipment allow the military to deploy from U.S. bases almost as quickly as from Germany, the authors note. Most importantly, they stress, an “unusual coalition” of Republicans and Democrats has been pressing for scaling back DOD’s overseas infrastructure since last year when talk about reducing the nation’s debt began to dominate Capitol Hill.

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