Army warns of new BRAC round

Army warns of new BRAC round

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The next defense secretary will likely have to decide on a series of Army base closings to meet the challenge of looming military spending cuts, a top Army budget official said Wednesday here at the Association of the U.S. Army Winter Symposium.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has already pushed the revival of the Base Re-Alignment and Closure Commission, which was a vehicle for shutting down bases in the past.

“We’ll have to see what the new secretary says” about the policy that would hit home with members of Congress, said Army Maj. Gen. Thomas W. Spoehr, the Army’s G-8.

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) was expected to be confirmed by the Senate to succeed Panetta despite fierce opposition by Republicans. He has yet to stake out a firm position on base closings, but Spoehr said a revival of BRAC was a strong possibility.

Under the BRAC process, the Defense Department would propose a list of base closings and the appointed BRAC would review the list, hold hearings, and come up with a final proposal for shutting down facilities.

Spoehr broached the possibility of a BRAC revival after his AUSA Winter Symposium speech in which he pushed back against a small pool of critics in Congress who have charged that the Army and other services have been blowing the budget crisis out proportion.

“We’re doing a lot of what-ifs at the Pentagon,” Spoehr said of the cuts that would be necessary, depending on the actions of the White House and Congress. “We’re doing what-ifs on top of what-ifs,”Spoehr said.

Spoehr warned of potential cuts coming from three directions — a continuing resolution in Congress that would cut military funding, proposed cuts to the $88 billion account for Overseas Contingency Operations  in Afghanistan and other areas, and sequestration, which would cut $500 billion in defense cuts over 10 years.

“Each of these would be a challenge,” Spoehr said. “Together, they are disastrous.”

The Army stands to lose $18 billion from its operations and maintenance budget which would result in “about 78 percent of our Army forces experiencing a readiness decline,” Spoehr said.

One area that would likely be protected is the Army’s role in the White House plan to shift assets to the Pacific to bolster allies in the region and counter the rise of China, Spoehr said. “We’ll continue with that kind of emphasis” which has the support of Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of Staff, and Army Secretary John McHugh, Spoehr said.

Spoehr warned that the country faces a very different threat climate than it did when the nation similarly cuts its defense budget after the Cold War and the Vietnam War.

“The difference is that we’re still in conflict” in Afghanistan while facing major threats in Africa and from Iran and North Korea, Spoehr said. In contrast to past drawdowns, “there is no peace dividend” to be found in the current political climate, Spoehr said.

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Considering that we have one general for every 600 soldiers, I’m frankly surprised that we don’t hear anything about retiring/shrinking the general staff — easily the most bloated it has ever been. It’s always the boots and everyone else that pays first.

With no offense meant what-so-ever, brass creep does seem to be an ever growing problem. It’s hard to make a decision to cut jobs when you are one of the people whose job needs cut… or are good friends with those people.

Can’t do it. They’re in charge.

I think there needs to be a BRAC for all the services not just the Army.

Why don’t they save some money by shutting Down bases in foreign markets? Tell me we can’t be anywhere in the world in a very short amount of time .. Closing those bases alone should cut quite a bit of fat from the budget .. Shouldn’t it ?

BRAC IS LONG OVERDUE AGAIN; and the budget proves it! The “NIMBY’s” in congress won’t let this happen though!

By all means, please. Another BRAC is the first step in paring down redundancy.

“[Hagel] has yet to stake out a firm position on base closings, but Spoehr said a revival of BRAC was a strong possibility.”

Given that Hagel has said the DoD budget “in many ways, has been bloated” (his precise words) and that defense “needs to be pared down” (his precise words), and given that an Obama operative said they chose Hagel to ram through “huge cuts” (his precise words), it should be clear that you can strike the words “strong possibility” and substitute the words “definite certainty”.

Oh, and per Hagel’s comments about wanting to cut defense spending sharply, Hagel at his confirmation hearings tried to walk back those remarks, telling the Senate that he had made them before the passage of the Budget Control Act.

Except for the fact that the Budget Control Act passed in August of 2011, and Hagel made the remarks in question in September of 2011. He can’t keep his story straight. Not a promising sign.

Here is a suggestion I first made while working as a Dept of Army Civilian at Forces Command HQ about 1990. There was concern about radio and other equipment incompatibility that resulted in Army Rangers parachuting in late and being gunned down. Why not fully combine all branches of service into one? There has been a lot of sloganeering about fighting as one force with joint trng and service in Iraq and Afghan combat zones. It would seem there could be tremendous saving cutting out redundant management and HQ staff if all branches combined.

Base closure is not as clear of savings as many think. When we closed many installations in Germany we spent far more on building added facilities in the US and clean-up of vacated facilities than we will save in many years to come. The first round of base closure was intended to have a big offset in cost by selling vacated facilities including Presidio and Ft. Ord. One late 90s briefing from a FORCOM base closure director said we had not made a dime by selling land since it was required to be given away to any level of government that wanted it. Environmental clean-up also was not factored into the cost and has cost many billions at Ammo Plants as we lost tremendous capabilities for production.


I was thinking the same thing. Why so many GOs?

Why is it that only the Army is getting love here? Navy still has 3 pilot training bases (Meridian, Kingsville, and Corpus Christi). At least one of these bases needs to go.

one General Officer per six hundred Soldiers is outrageous !!! Wonder how many they’ve got in the Corps ?

But if we had some guts, we would demand that Germany and other countries that we subsidize half their national defense pay us back. They should pay us for those installations, they should pay us to relocate and they should clean up the vacated facilities.

If the President would provide his plan for his budget cuts, then maybe more people would agree with his defense cuts. But I don’t see it, or not aware of any other cuts except defense, which will cause only more people to lose their jobs. Need to see his plan on what other government programs he intends to reduce or cut. This is OUR tax dollars we’re talking about. We have a right to know what is the plan on how OUR tax dollars will be spent.

I agree that the first cuts should be made to foreign spending, NOT domestic spending.
Agree entirely that closure of US installations on foreign soil needs to be paramount: it’s long overdo that more nations who’ve been fed by the US taxpayer welfare teat learn to take some personal responsibility for their own citizens and sovreignity.
Just as we condemn those lazy American welfare riders for not taking more personal initiative to control their own lives’ destinies, so too is it time we start condemning all these foreign ~allies~ who have become too complacent in their own socioeconomic security.

The really sad part of all this budget crisis is,
a lot of the career politicians who have enabled this culture for years
will be blindly re-elected next time they are up on the ballots.

agreed Get the brass of there _ss & move some of them out. Joint Chiefs need to take a hard look at laying off our troops,Not good ! Where arethey going to go & work..Economy is poor. why not put our soldiers to work with in our country to fix America. The US infrastructure is falling apart…roads,bridges,prisons etc etc Give me a 1000 diciplined American soldiers & I will train them to repair a 100 bridges.Give me 10,000 diciplined soldiers & I will train them to replace a 100 bridges.Give me 100,000 diciplined soldiers & I will change the world & make it a better place.Why is this so hard to treat our men & woman troops with respect.
Poloticians should not determine the fait of our military.Most do not understand. Give our Joint Chiefs a number of how much needs t be cut back & let them figure it out.Thats why they are being paid the big bucks
Senior Chief

The President has no intention of putting forth a plan. His plan is to let both sides fight it out and when they can’t get anything done say well we tried or pass the blame which he does well with his press machine. We have no leader. And you really expect Generals to do the best for the troops. If they did that they would never have made General, the post is purely political. Unless something major happens all you can expect is more pass the buck and butt covering.

You need to get your numbers straight, in the DOD there are 880 G.O.s for a force of 1.4 Million. Can we shrink yes, but we need to be smarter about it and actually have a clue before we start talking out our 4th point of contact. How about not relying on technology for everything the military does and actually pick our fights like a better caliber weapon or stick to one freaking uniform. One last point, how much does it cost the tax payer to close a base? Cant we think of better way and help our citizens at the same time?

Reduce the propert holdings overseas!!!!

Protect our ability to produce ammo!!!!

Support our military taining



You’ve inaccurately identified MG Thomas Spoehr as the Army’s G8. LTG James Barclay holds that position.

BRAC does not save money; may be after 10 years. Does anyone knows how much we save by closing/realining the Directotare of Nuclear Weapons at Kelly A.F.B.? I believe the better question should be, how much it cost to trying to “fix” the Nuclear enterprise problem, after the management realignment. Nuclear weapons fuzes shipped to Taiwan, nuclear weapons flying over the USA as a unarmed cargo? Failed nuclear weapons Inspections? Does anyone really believe that the “creation” of Global Strike Command is less expensive and safer then the Nuclear Weapons Directorate at Kelly AFB?

Where is the talk of a furlough for the Congress’s staff, curtailing the emprorers travel, scaling back the Secret Service and Capitol Police, removing the Czars, eliminating Moochell’s budget, recombine the Air Farce back into the Army, scale jobless benifits back to 12 weeks, elimination of DHS and moving the core entities back into their poarent orgs, etc.

I’m still waiting to see some of the “savings” we were supposed to get from all the previous rounds of base closings. By the way, the Army doesn’t tell Congress to shut down bases. Congress tells the Army what to do when it comes to bases.

Most defense contractor CEO’s make more taking a crap than the people who work for them make in 2 weeks of work. Why don’t we go back to the Army designing their own weapons? Why don’t we go back to the Navy designing their own ships? The same with aircraft. The contractors did a great job designing them back when they did that work using their own money, but now a jet that took 3 years to design takes 3 decades? Yeah right. The Air Force can design just as good an airplane without paying the $25 million salary of the Lockmart, Boeing, or NG CEO. Plus a government employed engineer will cost a hell of a lot less than $200+ per hour. The defense contractors keep pretending they are too big to fail, but the reality is we could replace them in a heartbeat. Hell, they already got rid of all their weapons designers. Kelly Johnson is dead and was replaced with a committee. There’s no reason for anyone to believe a committee of government employees is any less capable than a committee of contractor employees. Who knows, maybe without the contractor’s misinformation campaign, the government would go back to having weapons and vehicle designers like they did back in the days when John Browning designed our guns and Werner Von Braun designed our rockets?



It isn’t so much as the military designing its own weapons,
but rather,
there was a time when the government issued contract requirements,
and defense contractors spent their own money to bring a prototype to the competition trials.
It’s become so problematic ever since the contractors think the DoD (read: taxpayer) needs to fund a majority of their R &D as well. That’s probably the better part of 3/4 of wasted taxpayer money on underperforming, late-to-deliver projects.

How long has the US shipbuilding industry been designing and building ocean-going metal ships?
a century and a half? Yet there are corrosion issues with the LCS class? REALLY?
And wasn’t the JSF supposed to be a revolutionary designed-and-tested-on-computers concept that was to be so phenomenal and game changing, yet has delivered what exactly, other than troubled prototypes that those engineers swore up and down all the testing could be done virtually?

yes it should.

The Navy designed it’s own ships until the ‘80s or ‘90s. The Air Force used to get good performance from their contractors, like you say, before they started paying for R&D, but there is no reason they can’t revert to designing their own aircraft. There’s no special knowledge the contractors have that the US Air Force can’t get by hiring the right people. If we went to military design bureaus, it would put a stop to most of the outsourcing of our defense overseas, plus stop a lot of the cost increases. Capitalism is better, but when the contractors have nothing at risk and cannot fail, then there is no capitalism. Might just as well stop the pretense and save some money.

Here we go again, When they closed Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, It was proven the goverment lied about the figures it would cost the taxpayers. It was double what the goverment said it would be. We all know how honest our goverment is!!!

Initial costs to close a base are high but over a decade the cost saving from running more bases than necessary even out and we save money thereafter. We have a long term fiscal problem and we need to address it even if there are upfront costs to doing so.

The BRAC would be for all services — that’s why the story notes it is a request from the Secretary of Defense, not the Secretary fo the Army.….

Hence BRAC. DoD makes one list of consolidated recommendations and Congress votes to approve or disapprove. But under BRAC, Congress would authorize DoD to put that list together.…

They already have made the plans to cut man-power military wide. I thought we were still in a war though???

Let’s start by cutting Obama’s vacations. He is milking the system.. Stop him!! But what do you expect? And let’s void all personal, private transportation by those who don’t use commercial transportation. That would put a fleet of government aircraft on the ground. And when Washington DC. Reduces all rosters for White House employees, the military generals need to shrink the list because without troops we sure don’t need the golfers.

I like Policy Wonks idea get rid of Generals and fat cats at the Pentagon before we cut training and actual units from our order of battle. Overall Odierno and his lackeys have wasted more money on crap like ICC and GCV than ever and they need every penny for men and training. Cut the idiots who wasted money any regular company would do that.

Germany aside, the same issues exist from closing bases here in the US. There are upfront costs for environmental cleanup, moving troops and equipment, and building new facitlities at another base. The 2005 BRAC finished moving people just last year, and some of the costs of closing the bases were off by double.

The BRAC said it would cost $400 million to close Fort Monmouth, NJ. It ended up costing $2 billion. Saving money from BRAC is far from an exact science. The local economy might make some money off the real estate in a short time, but it takes years for the federal government to see a benefit from closings.

I didn’t scroll down to see this before I made my own post about Monmouth. It happens with every BRAC across the board, especially with environmental estimates.

I agree. I also remember an old saying: He who wears the most gold, makes the rules.” I doubt that the fat-cat Flag Officers will let themselves be cut. I’d be willing to bet a cup of coffee that it wouldn’t be very hard to find some Non-Value-Added Flag Officers. I mean just look at what happens when one of them gets convicted of a (or several) UCMJ article(s) — they lose one star and get to retire, still as a Flag Officer.

One Flag Officer equals quite a few E-5’s (and before anyone shoots that comment, I know there are SIGNIFICANT differences between the two) but we are long on Flag Officers and short on E-5’s.

As someone who relocated from Ft Monmouth down to Aberdeen Proving Ground a year and a half ago, I completely agree with you! On a side note, I find it very disturbing that the picture they chose to accompany this article is of a ceremony at the brand new facilities that were built at APG for our organization to move into.

When is the Potomac Puzzle Palace going to start following the recommendations of the Project on Government Oversight and its own Bi-Partisan Contractor Investigative Committee suggestions ? Until the DoD gets a firm handle on the basic tenets of book keeping and rewarding whistle blowers instead of firing, harassing and ignoring them, the base closings will be another band aid on a sucking chest wound.

You are correct. Closing down those bases would save a lot of money. Maintain laisons along with the diplomats, with a contingency strike force made up of the Air Force, Marines, Navy and Army that could be deployed within 18 hours of notification. The size of the strike force depends on the size and scope of the emergency. You have Special Forces, SEALS and Rangers that can deploy in less than 18 hours. You have several parachute infantry brigades and the entire 82nd Abn Div that could deploy within 18 hours of notification anywhere in the world. There is always a Naval task force ready to deploy less than 24 hours with a Marine Expeditionary Bde. There is always a Naval task force patrolling somewhere in the world.

Only one brigade of the 82nd is ever on 18 hour notice at a time. A Marine Expeditionary Brigade is over half the size of an Army division and is never ready on a moments notice.

They wont be happy until this country is completely defenseless. And then will cry when other countries take over and kick their sorry butts out. Sorry but what they are doing to the men and women that protect this great country is just shameful.

Franco, you nailed this one! Closing Kelly and shuffling critical tasks amongst half a dozen other facilities has been a complete disaster. The Nuke Weapons Center in Albuquerque is laughable at best, and standing up Global Strike is more lipstick on the pig. 11N-series tech orders are stuck in a complete leadership vacuum. Gross incompetence at Hill AFB has undermined the credibility of the ICBM fleet. All of these things taken together, they couldn’t have done more damage if that had been their intent. I don’[t know how it gets fixed, and I’ve been in the enterprise since the early 1980’s.

Before you assign all the blame on contractors, you have to acknowledge that a lot of the problem ison the government side, too. A small number of incompetent people on the government side can really hamstring a critical program. The entire acquisition process is badly broken, and the taxpayers are paying more and more for less and less. It’s unsustainable, and need to be fixed SOON!

I wish I could give this post 2 thumbs up.

Recombine the USAF into the Army? Put down the reefer.

over 50 promoted to BG or MG in the last 5 months. That’s just the Army. This is BS!

There are 167 sites or installations that are slowed down closure from previous rounds of closures. I recently worked on installing $2.2 million of fibre optic runs, complete with new top of the line Cisco hubs and routers for internet access and wifi coverage of the entire Umatilla Army Depot near Hermiston, OR. This is slated for closure in 2015. Everyone that works there is grateful for their paycheck, but nobody knows why they are still open. All their chem weapons were gone long ago. Their closure was put on slow down in Jan 2012. I imagine there are sites like this all over the country. Now I just have to trace back to find out which Senators & Congressmen have a vested interest in our company(or our suppliers)to get this useless contract pushed thru. I think I’ve found a starting point for cuts and closures.

True enough, it takes both sides for this procurement scam to work, but the scam can be killed at either end. Either the government can put an end to it by in-sourcing weapon development, or the contractors themselves could develop a conscience and say, “this just isn’t working out.” I don’t think you’ll ever see the head people at a major defense contractor step forward, but I certainly believe there are a lot of good people who work for these contractors who have eyes to see what is going on and what it is costing their country who could step up. Either way, this approach to contracting has got to go.

Amen to that. People turn a blind eye to the fact that is the very people who give the most to their country that we are failing, that we are taking the most from. It is absolutely not right, and God will demand an accounting even if congress will not.

HOW ABOUT THESE WORTHLESS POLITICIANS TAKE A PAY CUT. Better yet furlow them. WE would be better off with them out of DC than in. At least less stupid decisions would be made. Why doesn’t anything EVER put a burden on them in DC? WE NEED TERM LIMITS!!!

the Marine Corps has so few major bases as is. We’re borrowing from the Army and National guard for training. There’s no room here to cut other than letting our equipment rust in the rain.

We didn’t spend money building new facilities in Germany, our corrupt Generals did that. Rummy forced them to close some bases, so they devised a shell game and spent billions of dollars to build replacement facilities are other bases in Germany. This is detailed at G2mil, the base closure section. Our Army quietly opened a new base at Sembach Germany just two years ago! As the Army drawsdown, it just needs to close all its headquarters and support overhead in Germany, which is much larger than the two combat brigades remaining in Germany.

And our Navy is moving four destroyers from Norfolk to Spain just to waste money.

G2mil is your source? Seriously? Little math problem for you to figure out. When you close a base and MOVE THE TROOPS to another base, they need a new place to live and work. That costs money. Bases don’t get opened quietly. Congress has to approve the funding.

Isn’t this article about the Army’s excess base capacity in the USA? Think before you write. The Army is deactivating units, so they don[t have to move, just disappear.

Everybody is talking money and no one thinks about security for a People and Nation,where are our “Priorities” i am Retired Army and i am Preplexed at this point and time especially with our “Leaders” we can Tolerate high Gas prices but we “Flinch” when we talk security,what’s next maybe our “so call” Leaders will talk about “Outsourceing our Security?

Your comment was about building new facilities during the previous BRAC when the Army was getting bigger. You mentioned Rumsfeld who was the SECDEF from 2001 to 2006. You don’t remember writing that? It was only a few hours ago and two inches up this page. Even when we close a base, we don’t fire every soldier who worked there. Most of them get moved to another base. We closed dozens of bases in Germany during the late 2000s but the Army grew by 30,000 troops. Go do some real homework before throwing stones.

I believe the Super Base concept is required, and a return to the National Draft paring down the career service force another 50% through retirement and only replacing with conscripts. We have some seriously large military installations in the United States that can combine Commands and resources with enhanced interior capability. We know this regime administration has purchased Over a Billion bullets with no clear objective explained other than a mad rush on ammunition nation wide. Clearly the US citizens have more bullets and guns than the military; but what of this Civilian military as a result of a speech Barry Obama gave in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2008. Who is paying for this police force on American soil? What responsibilities will they have with the public?

There are more ways to explore a savings in military capability; it is indeed time to restore the National Draft. We are broke as a nation; should not the populace give in defense?

Sure eliminate Aviation training bases. First close Berkley or Harvard of Yale.

You are scarey as they come.

They Congress and Sentors and President need to quit arguing and pass this bill yall can pass a pay raise fill the lining of yall pockets but can’t pass the budget. Come on get with the program pass the bill it is jeopedizing alot of people livilyhood

AND cut their staffs by at least 50%! These people should all be paid BY THE HOURS WORKED (hours in their Washington office). The few hours they work at home should be gratus.

We have come down to last straw, and we as people are about to suffer from others making a decision and pushing paper on our livelyhood. This decision can be resolved if Congress would make a decision to restore all work, back to the U.States, the Federal Government and Miltary Workers. All the decision to shutdown the Government is a wasteful decision, put the focus on saving employees and military jobs and careers by eliminating all these unusable usage of these contractors. Eliminating contractors whose has been eliminating jobs of Government people for over 10 years with the “high price charges”. Give the people back their jobs, it been okay for the Government and Military to support the nation all these years, now you want to take that support away, and continue to drain the expenditure with the lousy contractors. Someone needs to bring this to the floor at Capital Hill, over the last 10 years, contractor’s has been in control, take back the control from these contractor, by quoting what we will pay for a job or eliminate the job, and have government workers replaced the contractors.

Sorry, too many pols are Harvard/Yale alumni. Not happenin’.

A draft will only encourage churn at the lowest levels; not sure how it changes things at the top. Problematically, it also means more people who will become part of the VA system, and ironically it will increase healthcare “coverage” by making more people vets: unless conscripts are locked out of the perks of the AVF, and creates a caste system of Benefits-Eligible and Not-Benefits-Eligible.

Nailed it on government waste.

The conspiracy theorists will suggest this is perfect for a FEMA concentration camp…guards need their wifi.

here is a thought…why not being forced to share training bases for aviation components of all services, just like ground-force training bases are shared?

lots of good people will lose jobs

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