The Air Force last September completed its infrastructure realignments associated with BRAC 2005 on time and within the original $3.8 billion budget, said Terry Yonkers, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and logistics. The upfront investment that the service made to execute those adjustments “is now resulting in savings of $1.4 billion on an annual basis,” he told a Senate oversight committee last week. However, Yonkers reiterated what the Air Force leadership has been saying: more BRAC is needed. “BRAC 2005 did not meet our expectations of reducing [our] footprint,” he testified. Yonkers noted that a Defense Department report from 2004 found that the Air Force had “24 percent excess capacity” in terms of infrastructure. “I dare say, if we were to look at that analyses today, we would find a similar outcome,” he said. That’s the case because the Air Force has already retired some 250 combat aircraft since then and is proposing phasing out nearly 300 more in its Fiscal 2013 budget request, he said. (See also Killing BRAC.) (Yonkers’ prepared testimony)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.