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Panetta Faces Questions on BRAC

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  • February 16, 2012
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For communities trying to handicap the chances that Congress will grant the Pentagon’s request for one or two base closure rounds, one argument working against a new BRAC round is that at a time when DOD desperately needs to find ways to slash the budget here and now, why would the administration propose an undertaking that would seem to cost money in the short term, with the prospect of savings likely to occur only further down the road.

At Wednesday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) took the opportunity to ask Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that exact question.

Panetta didn’t really explain the discrepancy, however, but he acknowledged the need to improve on DOD’s record in carrying out the 2005 round efficiently.

“You know, it’s just unacceptable the way that process ultimately worked out, in terms of how much it cost us,” Panetta said.

The best answer he could offer is that the department could learn from its experience in past rounds.

“If we’re going to do another BRAC round, as we’ve recommended, perhaps we need to do it in a way that tries to acknowledge some of the lessons learned here to make sure that we achieve the savings that we have to achieve as part of the BRAC process. Maybe that’s a better way to approach this issue,” Panetta said.

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