BRAC is Back, and It’s Serious

If Congress goes along with another BRAC round, the Air Force anticipates that the service “would actually close bases,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. After BRAC 2005, the Air Force “had excess infrastructure in the neighborhood of 20 percent,” Schwartz told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on Jan. 27. After eliminating about 500 aircraft since then, the “presumption is that there is more excess infrastructure,” he explained. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta disclosed on the previous day that President Obama would seek Congress’ authorization for another round of base closures to shed excess infrastructure. Panetta said Obama is proposing this as one of the many moves the Defense Department intends to make to adjust its force structure to the nation’s new defense strategic guidance. “We cannot afford to sustain infrastructure that is excess to our needs in this budget environment,” said Panetta. (Schwartz transcript)