DOD Insists It Still Needs Flexibility to Miss BRAC Implementation Deadline
With the BRAC 2005 implementation deadline already passed two months ago, the Defense Department is requesting the Senate allow it a one-year extension for up to 10 recommendations.
The request, part of the White House’s Statement of Administration Policy on the Senate’s version of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, was released Thursday as the chamber began to debate the measure.
The House version of the bill would provide the department that flexibility, but only for seven recommendations. So even if the request is not added via an amendment on the Senate floor, there’s a fair chance DOD still could obtain a one-year extension for seven recommendations when the legislation goes to a House-Senate conference.
The administration’s statement does not list specific recommendations that it failed to carry out by the Sept. 15 deadline. It only says that it has “a handful of recommendations with schedules that complete implementation close to the statutory deadline.”
Over the summer, the House said that it was aware of only one recommendation that was certain to be late — the creation of a joint medical command headquarters in the Washington area. But there likely are others. The move of 6,400 Pentagon workers from Arlington to the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., for example, is being implemented in phases and probably has not been completed yet.
A DOD spokesperson could not be reached for comment before the 360 deadline.
The other concern of interest to defense communities that the administration raises is the bill’s prohibition on spending money on the realignment of Marine forces from Okinawa to Guam until the Marine Corps commandment provides an updated force laydown, among other requirements.
Not authorizing military construction projects needed to carry out the realignment would force the administration to defer them, which “could send the unintended message that the United States does not stand by its allies or its agreements,” the White House said.
Debate over the authorization bill, S. 1867, is expected to finish sometime after the Senate returns from its Thanksgiving recess.