DOD to Identify Returning German Brigade, Potential Destinations, under Omnibus
The Pentagon will need to inform Congress what brigade combat team it plans to withdraw from Germany in 2015 along with what U.S. installations would be best suited to house the unit, under language in the fiscal 2012 omnibus spending package approved last week.
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) earlier added similar language to the Senate version of the military construction spending bill after DOD announced that only one of the four Europe-based brigade combat teams would be relocated to the United States, a change from its 2004 plan to withdraw two of the units and reduce U.S. forces in Europe from 100,000 to 60,000 personnel.
The Army should look for candidate posts that have the capability, existing infrastructure and training facilities to support a brigade combat team similar to the one that will be relocated back to the United States, according to the provision.
Hutchison likely is hoping Fort Bliss comes out as the best candidate to house the brigade. Bliss was one of three posts to lose out on a promised brigade combat team after then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced in 2009 that only 45 brigades would be created — rather than 48 as had been called for initially — under the Army’s Grow the Force initiative.
The Army’s response will be due 90 days after the legislation’s enactment and should include timelines for the closure of installations it will return to Germany, along with a list of construction projects required at other installations to support the downsizing and consolidation of U.S. forces in Germany.
The Senate cleared the omnibus on Saturday, after the House adopted it Friday. Both chambers also cleared a short-term continuing resolution to keep DOD and other agencies running through Dec. 23. Appropriators need the extra time to assemble the necessary paperwork before sending it to President Obama for his signature, reported CQ Today.