More Base Closures Ahead?

Closing bases is something that Defense Department officials ought to look at as the Pentagon looks for ways to trim its overhead costs, says Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. “Does the Department of Defense have excess infrastructure?” Schwartz asked rhetorically during his speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. He continued, “This is one area that I think needs scrutiny.” Bases and facilities are “emotional issues” and “highly charged,” he acknowledged. For the moment, discussion of closing any installations is “largely off limits,” he said. But “I don’t think it can remain that way indefinitely,” he added. The last base closing round was in 2005. Schwartz also noted that the services are seeking savings in procurement and operations, although they can’t do much to reduce the number of people in uniform. (For more coverage of Schwartz’s speech, see Waiting for a Seat at the Table and Put up, Why Dontcha)