Installation Chiefs Justify Need for New BRAC Rounds
BRAC rounds in 2013 and 2015 are needed to trim defense spending and eliminate excess infrastructure, the installation chiefs for each of the services and DOD told the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday.
“All BRAC rounds have yielded savings,” Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, told the panel.
Several of the witnesses cited the $487 billion in defense cuts imposed on the Pentagon under last August’s agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling as the primary impetus to reviewing their installation and force structure strategies.
In his opening remarks, Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), the subcommittee’s senior Democrat, said he sees an overseas BRAC as a higher priority than a domestic round. Robyn responded, stating the Army has made substantial progress in paring its overseas footprint and will continue to do more. The military’s effort to reduce its overseas basing would not eliminate the need for a base closure round at home, however, she said.
Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy, and environment, reinforced Robyn’s claim by pointing out that “overseas BRAC is happening.”
The witnesses also stressed that if the proposed BRAC rounds were implemented, they would not resemble the last base closure round when the goal was force transformation. The newly proposed BRAC rounds, instead, would focus on eliminating excess capacity, much like the BRAC rounds of the 1990s.
The installation chiefs noted that excess capacity was costing the nation billions of dollars. The last round fell far short of Air Force goals and, as a result, another BRAC round is needed to eliminate the service’s excess capacity, Terry Yonkers, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and logistics, told lawmakers.