March 15, 2013

Lawmakers, DOD witnesses spar over BRAC

Quincy Enoch

Quincy Enoch, NAFCU's Associate Director of Legislative Affairs and Military Liaison.

March 15, 2013 – Lawmakers, a Department of Defense official and officials from the various military branches debated if now is the appropriate time for another Base Realignment and Closure.

House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman, R-Va., and Ranking Member Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, in particular, expressed concerns about authorizing another BRAC. Wittman noted that a recent Government Accountability Office study showed the 2005 BRAC resulted in cost overruns and a lack of savings. Committee members also noted concerns about the upfront costs of BRAC and the likelihood that it could threaten mission readiness.

Witnesses for the DOD told committee members that a reduction in troops has led to more excess infrastructure, which adds unnecessary costs. The DOD witnesses argued that reducing that excess infrastructure would yield recurring savings.

Quincy Enoch, NAFCU's associate director of legislative affairs and military liaison, said that in light of the current climate and focus on budget cuts, the subject of BRAC is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

"Although there is little congressional support for BRAC, budget pressures could make BRAC a possibility," said Enoch. "While most of the issues surrounding BRAC are full of uncertainty, the Pentagon is looking for ways to deal with not only sequestration, but long term budget reductions. Given the shift in overall military policy and the focus on spending reduction, at some point BRAC could become a reality."