Smith Reintroduces BRAC Legislation

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, reintroduced a bill on Thursday that would establish another base realignment and closure beginning in 2019. The move comes just two days after Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Congress’ failure to consider another BRAC “an act of cowardice.” The Defense Department has repeatedly asked for another BRAC, saying it can no longer afford to maintain its excess inventory, but Congress has consistently rejected such requests, saying the last BRAC round, conducted in 2005, did little to save money. However, that wasn’t the purpose of the 2005 BRAC, which was focused on realignment, not closure. Air Force leaders have said the service has about 30 percent excess capacity, though they’ve also emphasized that doesn’t mean 30 percent of its bases would close. The BRAC proposed by Smith would “largely maintain the framework of previous” BRAC rounds, though it “makes a number of reforms aimed at increasing congressional oversight, emphasizing savings, controlling cost-growth, strengthening the independent commission, and expediting the completion of the recommendations,” according to a summary of the legislation.

See also: The Long Road for BRAC from the February 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine.