Lawmakers Not Biting on BRAC Yet

Despite appeals from the Pentagon’s civilian leadership and the service Chiefs that Congress allow another BRAC round, House lawmakers charged with overseeing any further base closures expressed skepticism towards the idea. Additional base closures would “harm military power” and the ability to project power, said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel, during a March 14 hearing with senior Pentagon installations officials. Ranking Member Rep. Madeline Bordallo (D-Guam) said the BRAC process is “shortsighted,” given the military’s needs. Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment John Conger told the panel that a 2004 Pentagon study indicated there is at least 24 percent excess infrastructure capacity across the US military. Since then, additional reductions in force structure have occurred, meaning there is likely even more excess, he said. While the Pentagon has not yet conducted a study of a future BRAC round, the costs of the previous round, BRAC 2005, have been paid, said Conger. “We are doing nothing but saving now” from the 2005 reductions, he said. (Conger’s prepared statement)