Tags: house of representatives | military base | closing | defense spending

Daily Signal: House Refusal to Reassess Bases Will Lead to Unnecessary Costs

Image: Daily Signal: House Refusal to Reassess Bases Will Lead to Unnecessary Costs
Soldiers complete casing one of the flags during a colors casing ceremony for the U.S. Army Armor School's 194th Armor Brigade and 316th Calvary Brigade at Fort Knox, Ky., on June 10, 2011. The school was transitioned to Fort Benning, Ga., as part of the Base Realignment and Closure initiative. (Amber Coulter/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017 02:03 PM

Pentagon plans to make more efficient use of its resources by reassessing military bases were dashed by the House, said Frederico Bartels, policy analyst for defense spending at The Heritage Foundation's Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.

Bartel's comments came in a column posted Wednesday on The Daily Signal.

"The legislative body decided to maintain the prohibition on conducting a new round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), even though U.S. military leaders argue it is a crucial measure to save precious defense dollars," he said.

"The rejection of BRAC was fueled by arguments that ignore how the process actually takes place and how Congress can shape and guide it toward the intended goals."

He said the main concerns expressed by House members included how to ensure the BRAC process would deliver substantial savings. Bartel said lawmakers also were worried about cutting military infrastructure at the start of a proposed defense rebuilding.

"These are valid concerns that can and should be tackled by Congress and the Department of Defense," he said.

"While it is reasonable to be concerned about reducing infrastructure at the same time the military is proposed to grow, such issues can be easily solved. Defense Secretary James Mattis has stated the Pentagon is currently developing a new national defense strategy that should influence the size and capabilities for our future military.

He said the process needs to be approved now in order to be ready to take place in 2021.

"By the time the BRAC process has been proposed to take place in 2021, all such decisions will have been made and provisions made to ensure that needed facilities will not be closed."

Furthermore, past BRAC processes have shown that they typically reduce about 5 percent of infrastructure, while today the Pentagon estimates it has an excess of 22 percent in infrastructure.

"Thus, there is little danger of this proposed BRAC closing a base that the military might need now or in the future.

"The concerns raised by the House of Representatives in rejecting a new round of BRAC are easily solved. They are not reasons to throw out the process."

He said Congress needs to back a new round of BRAC. And it can mandate the Pentagon come up with better cost estimates to avoid unforeseen cost overruns.

But, he pointed out, the Senate still has the opportunity to correct the situation.

"The Senate ought to engage in a serious conversation about how to improve the BRAC process, recognizing that it is a useful tool to save money and increase military capability," he said.

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Pentagon plans to make more efficient use of its resources by reassessing military bases were dashed by the House, said Frederico Bartels, policy analyst for defense spending at The Heritage Foundation's Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.
house of representatives, military base, closing, defense spending
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2017-03-19
Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017 02:03 PM
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