BRAC Logic

Challenged with the services’ complaint that they need to close excess base infrastructure to help fund readiness, a key leader on the House Armed Services Committee said July 15 that “BRAC needs to happen in a logical sequence.” Rep. Rob Wittman, chairman of the HASC readiness panel, has been a vocal member of the strong congressional opposition that has blocked the Pentagon’s persistent requests to allow base realignment and closure as the forces shrink and budgets decline. Asked about the conflict between that opposition and his strong advocacy for military readiness, Wittman said, “We’re still determining what the end strength of the military is going to be. We’re still doing an overseas base assessment” to determine what the requirements for foreign bases are. “It’s really a situation of doing things in a logical progression,” he said. Wittman noted that the House included in this year’s defense authorization a requirement for the services “to say where they had excess capacity, and then how they would propose liquidating that excess capacity and save money in a six-year window.” The last BRAC in 2005 “won’t save any money until 2018,” he said. “So this is an issue of when we’re going to get money back in a timely way that’s going to affect readiness.”