Key Lawmakers Leery of Request for New BRAC Round
Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Thursday that the Pentagon’s priority should be culling its bases in Europe before it moves on to reducing its real estate in the United States.
“I have been a strong supporter of BRACs in the past. But I’m not able to support BRAC domestically until we reduce bases in particular in Europe,” Levin said, according to CQ Today.
Levin’s comments came Thursday morning, prior to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement that the president will ask Congress to authorize a new round of BRAC, but the day after Panetta briefed congressional leaders on details in the department’s fiscal 2013 budget request.
Levin told reporters that an assessment of the military’s bases in Europe is needed given DOD’s greater focus on the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, according to CQ.
Separately, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, questioned the need to close bases, following the bitterness associated with previous BRAC rounds.
Thornberry said he expects Congress to approve one round in 2015, but not an additional one in 2013, reported DoD Buzz. Although Panetta said on Thursday only that the president will ask Congress to use the BRAC process, some reports have said the Pentagon plans to request BRAC rounds in 2013 and 2015.