Capitol Hill pushes back against BRAC

Capitol Hill pushes back against BRAC

Lawmakers were skeptical of the Defense Department’s estimate to begin the process of shuttering military bases around the country under a Base Realignment and Closure Commission, known as BRAC.

The proposed budget released this month included $2.4 billion in upfront military construction costs for the five-year period through fiscal 2018.

Sen. Carl Levin, Senate Armed Services chairman, said the Pentagon should have planned to spend money on BRAC sooner if it was serious about starting the process.

“They didn’t put their money where their mouth is this year — they put their money where their mouth is next year,” Levin said, according to an April 16 report in The Hill.

During an April 17 hearing of the panel, Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale said the bulk of the proposed funding would be spent over three years beginning in fiscal 2016.

The group would convene in 2015 and begin closing bases in 2016, Hale has said. The move would help to reduce the headcount of civilian personnel by about 6 percent, or 50,000 workers, he has said.

Also during the hearing, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., were among those who said the estimate seemed exceedingly low, given a recent report from the Government Accountability Office that showed the  construction costs for a similar process undertaken in 2005 almost doubled from the initial estimate of $13.2 billion to $24.5 billion.

Inhofe said his reasons for opposing the creation of a commission nearly a decade ago “are probably more true today.”

Congress probably doesn’t have a big appetite for anything with significant military construction costs needed up front, Vitter said. “I’m also concerned that that $2.4 billion just seems on a different planet from the last BRAC,” he said.

The Pentagon this time around would focus more on closing installations than construction, Hale said. “We’re not going to do 2015 the way we did 2005,” he told lawmakers. “We can’t afford not to do this.”

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25% of the bases in the continental US are not required for maintaining our military forces in the “reduced” size this administration is “politiking” to achieve. They will bemoan the fact that many civilian jobs will be lost but will appear to be grudgingly agree to “saving money” and closing the bases and also achieving their end game of reducing our military capability. Sadly, many of our political negotiators are so fixated on the game, they have lost sight of the benefit and good for our society. The bases will close and we will lose resources that we will have to buy back, in the near future when we appear to weak to protect our share of international trade.

Let’s see; hmmm– Congress cuts the military budget big time; then, makes DOD buy equipment that they don’t want or need, ’cause it will turn a big profit for a company in their home state; OR when DOD wants to close bases that are deemed excess, the “NIMBY’s” in congress say no. Let DOD take care of their own budget!

There is less of a focus on a relevant force structure and supporting infrastructure then on jobs.
If there is not a BRAC every installation and facility will suffer reductions and DoD will find itself with less than excellent facilities.

Congress will not okay a BRAC until the DoD closes more bases in Europe.Hagel promised to close some. Google “close overseas bases” for a list

As much as Civilian counterbalances are needed for military budgets overall, the current state of affairs is rather sad. Take the famous 300 unneeded Abrams, they are outright ignoring what the DoD actually needs.

spot on Jcross.……as sorry to see & exp. what has happened lat 30 years.…..period

Hmmm…Fortress America, circa the 1930s?

Good news we need as much bases here as we need. Too few already. Seems more money can be saved by killing useless programs like GCV and ICC which wont produce nothing for the fighting man.

Running Bear: u left out one part, the cost of cleaning up the bases for civilian use.…..the hidden cost of downsizing

Exactly. The $20 billion figure mentioned in the article is what it cost to close down the bases, move the personnel and equipment somewhere else, and build new facilities for those troops. Due to the Army growing during the last BRAC those construction costs were huge. This time around the costs shouldn’t be as high since the Army is downsizing and units evicted by a BRAC might move to preexisting facilities, but there are still upfront costs to consider.

Yes and no…there are two ways to carve major dollars out of the FYDP; kill off entire programs/fleets, and/or get rid of excess infrastructure.

If we have to make hard choices, infrastructure has to be on the table. The pols know it, but can’t be perceived as caving in at the expense of their districts. The BRAC process, while imperfect, is intended to give cover to Congress and he President. But they still have to be seen as being reluctant. Since when was policy development rational?

The hard choice with a BRAC is that once you close a base, it’s pretty much gone forever. Also, there are substantial upfront costs and you won’t see a savings for several years. BRAC is not a short-term money saver.

As one who has participated in the BRAC process before, as usual, the Pentagon has it backwards. This time around — and we do need to do this — we need to establish the core set of bases we need to KEEP in CONUS for three different sets of force structure levels. Set three should be labeled as Reserve bases (but associated with Active forces). Then we’d MODERNIZE those bases. And get rid of everything else.

Since most key major bases are not going away, this approach has the benefit on not putting everything on the table and threatening everyone. By designating the key bases, everyone else is not threatened, and in fact, have their supporters on the Congressional defense committees, which would more easily vote for closure of the remaining excess facilities. We also need to include a redevelopment component this time around.

‘Bout time congress stopped putting their responsibility off to ‘BRAC”. Leave the Military alone for awhile. There is already enough unknown. Cut the Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Navy. Doesn’t make me feel safer, how about you? Why is America cutting at this time?

Unfortunately the entire request for BRAC process is nonsense … it does not fit the National Security Strategy and National Military Strategy that calls for the military to project power from CONUS installations … while we PAY other countries to maintain military bases in their countries we need to move those select units back to CONUS to the so called excess infrastructure and close down those overseas bases. We would also save significant monies by continuing with the reduction in grade of general/flag ranks that will also result in a reduction in grade of their subordinates … combine the military’s different hospitalization systems with the VA Health Administration, since the military consistently has low hospital bed census levels … it would save tons of money in both VA and Military Health facility projects …

Why not cut obvious waste? … eliminate all vehicle registration activities for DOD installations where the military identification card is required, thus eliminating lots of “civilian DOD police officers and a ton of trees killed to provide vehicle passes for people already authorized to be on the base”… eliminate all DOD installation grounds maintenance contracts and replace them with WG civilians who both control and maintain all the grounds equipment and perform grounds maintenance; military units would be responsible for maintaining the areas immediately around their buildings but could not purchase or hold grounds maintenance equipment–they would sign it out from Public Works and pay for any damage they cause; military personnel that damage barracks and any other areas would be assigned to reimburse the exact contracted costs to replace furniture, items, and repair facilities–failure to do this is what caused the decline in facilities in the first place …

Debt collection from military personnel for damage or misconduct needs to go direct to contractors who make the repairs not into the general treasury of the country leaving the damage not repaired … there are simply too many ways to cut waste without poor military analysis … any fool can look at the actual costs of every BRAC in the past and see too many poor decisions that costs lots more to execute many times over … the last round of BRAC was not intended to deal with a growing military I have no idea what the author is talking about.

There is simply too much foolishness that goes on with the military that can be eliminated to save monies … why was each branch allowed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on field/combat uniform research when the Marine Corps already solved this problem? parochialism that the civilian leadership should have nipped in the bud? … was it too hard to simply replace the little “USMC” in the fabric with “USA or USAF or USN” duh … how long does it take to figure out that billions don’t need to be spent on new electronic medical records when the could simply use the product already in use by the end user of the data, the VA … absolute foolishness is what can be eliminated first including moving US AFRICOM from Germany to either AFRICA or a U.S. Base with easy access to an international airport with direct flights to Africa; not like the foolishness of moving US FORSCOM and US Army Reserve Command then “discovering” there were no direct flights to DC, duh … or moving Third Army to Shaw AFB and discovering they ran out of money for ancilliary buildings, duh … vacating former headquarters had new infrastructure?

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