Lawmakers Line up against BRAC Proposal
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said they oppose holding another round of base closures, as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta proposed last week, with most highlighting the need to assess the nation’s overseas basing before launching a new BRAC.
The joint statement released by the Senate delegations for Maine and New Hampshire was typical: “The department is in the midst of decisions on our posture overseas, including the possibility of withdrawing forces and closing bases in Europe, and any move to close bases here in the U.S. should not be entertained until that process is concluded.”
The statement also pointed out that because the cost of carrying out BRAC 2005 was greater than projected and the savings were smaller than anticipated, it will take more than a decade before taxpayers recover the round’s implementation costs, reported the Boston Globe.
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) also called for postponing a new BRAC until DOD considers consolidating its large number of overseas bases. She recommended the Army take advantage of the “unique” military capabilities available at its largest U.S. installations, including two in her state: “It is in the best interests of the Army and our national security that we continue to make the best use of these important domestic installations.”
Fellow Texan Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D) agreed with Hutchison on the need to make full use of Fort Bliss, but seemed to indicate a new BRAC may be justified. “The current budget challenges facing our nation may increase the likelihood of one — or even perhaps two — rounds of base closures,” he said.
Panetta did not specify whether the administration would ask for just one, or more, rounds, but several senior DOD officials last week said the president likely would ask Congress to authorize two BRAC rounds.