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Policy Bill Calls for Overseas Basing Study

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  • December 19, 2011
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The Defense Department will ask either an independent institute or a federally-funded research and development center to make recommendations regarding the closure and realignment of the nation’s overseas military facilities, under the conference agreement for the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill reached last week.

According to the bill, H.R. 1540, the independent assessment of the overseas basing presence of U.S. forces should include multiple components:

  • as assessment of the location and number of U.S. forces required to be forward based;
  • an assessment of the condition, capacity and cost of maintaining overseas facilities and training ranges;
  • a description of payments and in-kind contributions received from foreign countries to maintain the nation’s overseas facilities;
  • a determination of how much the United States makes in direct payments to foreign countries; and
  • recommendations regarding the retention, closure or realignment of overseas facilities or the establishment of new locations overseas, “in light of potential fiscal constraints on DOD and emerging national security requirements in coming years.”

A report will be due one year after the measure is signed into law. The secretary of defense will be required to submit the report to Congress, with “appropriate” comments, within 90 days after receiving it.

The language does not call for a federal commission to conduct the study, the approach adopted in similar legislation introduced in the Senate. In October, Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) introduced a bill creating an eight-member commission that would be responsible for preparing recommendations that would include an overseas basing strategy, taking into account the nation’s current fiscal constraints.

The conference report for H.R. 1540 is available on the website of the House Rules Committee.

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