For the first time in six years, the Defense Department is not asking lawmakers for permission to launch a new round of base closures as part of its annual budget request. The move comes as Congress has vociferously rejected past requests for a host of reasons, including the 2005 round’s failure to meet its cost and savings estimates and concerns that DOD’s studies of excess capacity don’t account for the need to expand the military’s force structure. “We’ve asked for it a number of times in the past without much success,” Comptroller David Norquist said at the Pentagon’s budget briefing Monday.
Instead of pursuing a BRAC round, he said officials would follow two other alternatives. “One is working with Congress to find common areas where we can make reforms and changes that don’t create the same types of obstacles,” Norquist said. Secondly, the department is undergoing an audit of its financial statement that includes a look at real property and an effort to improve the accuracy of the data behind it.
“And there is a view of being able to take advantage of the data coming out of that process to help us make better decision-making on real property,” he said.
Norquist did not mention, however, a bullet point on one of his presentation’s slides which stressed the need for the department to shed unneeded capacity. “[The FY 2019 budget request] concentrates efforts on ensuring the basing infrastructure is ideally sized to increase the lethality of U.S. forces while minimizing the cost of maintaining unneeded capacity, which diverts resources from critical readiness and modernization requirements,” it stated.
DoD Photo by Glenn Fawcett