Is Seven Enough?
When it comes to asking for an extension from Congress to complete BRAC actions beyond the Sept. 15 implementation deadline, seven may have to be enough for the Defense Department. That’s how many recommendations the House would provide a one-year extension for in its version of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill.
After the Senate Armed Services Committee finished marking up its version of the legislation last week, 360 learned that the Senate has no companion provision. That most likely means the best case scenario for the Pentagon is that House negotiators gain the Senate’s consent to retain the language allowing an extension for seven.
What’s not clear is just how many recommendations are in jeopardy of missing the statutory deadline. After completing its markup last month, the House said its primary motivation in including the extension language was ensuring that DOD did not feel pressure to complete the high-profile realignments of medical care in Washington, D.C., and San Antonio. The House was only aware of one recommendation that was assured of being late–the creation of a joint medical command headquarters in the Washington area.
The department, however, had asked for the legislation to allow up to 10 recommendations be extended for one year. DOD may have been playing it safe though. The only list of recommendations at risk of missing the deadline that has been made public is the one it released last year containing six actions officials were concerned about.
Included were the Walter Reed realignment, the transfer of inpatient care at Lackland AFB’s Wilford Hall to Fort Sam Houston’s Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, the joint medical command consolidation, and the move of 6,400 Pentagon workers to the Mark Center in Alexandria.
The larger risk is probably not whether too many recommendations could miss the implementation deadline, but whether lawmakers pass a final version of the legislation in time to help DOD’s cause.