Pentagon to Congress: We Need Base Closures

(S.T. Lloyd comment: “Not good!”)WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials say the Defense Department is wasting money on excess facilities and needs Congress to step in and close them, but they face an uphill fight.Pointing to 22 percent excess capacity across DoD, a senior Pentagon official is urging lawmakers to consider a new round of the politically unpopular Base Realignment and Closures process, known by the acronym BRAC. According to a DoD report to Congress on the need for BRAC, the Army’s excess capacity is 33 percent; the Air Force’s is 32 percent; the Defense Logistics Agency’s is 12 percent, and the Navy’s is 7 percent.“As Department of Defense leadership has repeatedly testified, spending resources on excess infrastructure does not make sense,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said in an April 12 letter that accompanies the report. “Therefore, we urge Congress to provide the Department authorization for another round of BRAC. Our recently submitted BRAC legislative proposal responds to congressional concerns regarding cost.”The letter was made public Friday, days after Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management said she will not include the authority to conduct a BRAC round in her subcommittee’s mark of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. She said that amid tight DoD budgets, the military cannot afford BRAC, whose costs ballooned 67 percent during the last round, in 2005.“I do not want to give the department the open-ended authority to pursue another BRAC round that will potentially incur significant upfront costs when we do not have the room in our budget in the next few years to afford many fundamental readiness investments that are right before us,” Ayotte, R-N.H., said in an April 12 hearing.

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