April 18, 2016—The Pentagon has made it clear to Congress that if no action is taken to close some domestic military bases by 2019, more than one-fifth of all bases will be a total waste of money. That amounts to one-third of all bases in the US, but Congress doesn’t seem ready to close a single one.
The Pentagon plan is known as Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, but Congress refuses to authorize it, because of political consequences they would face for lost jobs or other economic impacts.
“As Department of Defense leadership has repeatedly testified, spending resources on excess infrastructure does not make sense,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work told Congress, according to The Hill.
The last time BRAC was approved was 11 years ago. It now sits idle in the House Armed Services Committee.
Committee chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) released a statement reacting to the Pentagon plan, saying, “No one believes that the current military force structure is adequate to meet the threats we face.”
Thornberry is playing with the numbers, criticizing the Pentagon for basing its plan on 2019 prognostications, rather than 2012 as Thornberry would prefer.
“Assessing our capacity based on an inadequate force structure makes no sense. It would lock in a future where our stressed military becomes permanently gutted,” Thornberry wrote.
On the Democratic side of the House Armed Services Committee, ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (Washington) wrote in support of BRAC, “I will continue to work toward legislation that authorizes an additional BRAC round, which also addresses the concerns and skepticism that linger from the 2005 BRAC.”
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