Readiness Panel Approves Bill Markup, Rejects BRAC Request
The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee approved its section of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill Friday, omitting language allowing the Pentagon’s request to hold base closure rounds in 2013 and 2015.
The decision to deny DOD permission for one or more BRAC rounds had been all but assured since the department announced its intention to request them. Subcommittee Chairman Randy Forbes (R-Va.) confirmed that outcome at the outset of the markup, mentioning the request as the first of several key issues he highlighted. Forbes rejected the central rationale DOD has used to justify its pursuit of new BRAC rounds, namely that a shrinking force can be accommodated by a smaller physical footprint.
“Fundamentally, I believe that the premise for another round of BRAC is flawed. To assume that our decreasing force structure requires another round of BRAC presumes that the administration’s proposal for a reduced force structure is correct,” Forbes stated.
“I categorically refuse to accept a diminished Department of Defense and believe that additional force structure is necessary to support our combatant commanders. I will not accept a reduction in our infrastructure when I believe that our nation’s readiness will suffer,” he concluded.
He also pointed out that the legislation rejects DOD’s plan to retire three guided missile cruisers well before the end of their service life, which the bill would achieve by barring the Navy from spending money to retire the ships, along with restoring funds to operate and maintain the ships.
The full committee is scheduled to mark up the measure May 9. The subcommittee’s portion of the authorization bill is available on the committee website.