Congress Isn’t Budging on BRAC

Congress will not budget for another Base Realignment and Closure, said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower and projection forces panel, on Tuesday. The President’s Fiscal 2016 budget request, released Feb. 2, once again seeks a new BRAC round. Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord on Monday urged Congress to reconsider its long-held opposition to BRAC, noting it’s been 10 years since the last round of base closures. “We have excess capacity. There is a compelling logic for it, and we’re going to have to deal with it at some point,” said McCord. Forbes, however, said the issue comes down to maintaining an adequate force structure. “Once we shut some of these capabilities and these facilities down, you’ll never be able to build them back up, and I think history has shown us that,” he told reporters in Washington, D.C. This “doesn’t mean we can never close anything,” he said, but it needs to be done on an individual strategic basis, not a broad sweep because of budget concerns. Previous Pentagon requests for additional BRAC rounds were based on the 2005 infrastructure analysis conducted during the last base-closure round. The Fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill allowed DOD to proceed with another infrastructure analysis even though Congress did not support the department’s request for more closures. “You show me your strategy and the analysis that you’ve done to make sure that we’re getting this right, even if I disagree with your analysis, I’ll support you,” said Forbes, who noted that analysis has been lacking in the past. (McCord transcript.)