Why Congress Should Include Base Realignment and Closures in Defense Authorization Bill

“The [base realignment and closures] course of provides us the chance to deal with readiness by offering our forces the very best ranges and installations for them to be stationed at.”

This is how Lucian Niemeyer, the brand new assistant secretary of protection for power, set up, and setting, described the significance of Congress authorizing a brand new spherical of base realignment and closures (BRAC).

On Sept. 5, The Heritage Foundation hosted Niemeyer in a panel with the honorable Anthony Principi, chairman of the 2005 BRAC Commission and former secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Andrew Hunter, senior fellow on the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

What emerged from the discussions is the conclusion that there isn’t a higher instrument obtainable to the Department of Defense than BRAC to form its actual property stock.

The Department of Defense’s authorities are severely restricted by present laws, which successfully prohibits any base closures exterior of the BRAC course of, which was created in 1988.

For 5 years in a row now, the Pentagon has pleaded with Congress to authorize a brand new BRAC spherical, stating in sure phrases that it’ll save billions of taxpayer dollars. This is the sixth 12 months through which the request has been made.

As Congress returns from its August recess and will get able to re-engage within the National Defense Authorization Act, it ought to grant the Department of Defense’s request and authorize a brand new spherical of BRAC.

According to an infrastructure capability evaluation from the Department of Defense, the division has over 20 % extra capability. Niemeyer expressed that the division is at the moment remodeling its estimates utilizing extra up to date power construction constructs, however that it remained sure of the necessity for a BRAC.

It is essential to contemplate a brand new spherical of BRAC throughout the bigger context through which the Pentagon operates, in anticipation of the discharge of latest Trump administration nationwide protection and nationwide safety methods. These paperwork will inform how the Department of Defense shapes its actual property infrastructure.

As such, Niemeyer said that “[f]or us [the Department of Defense] it’s not only a matter of discovering efficiencies, it’s a matter of enhancing the army worth and the effectiveness and lethality of our army forces.”

This enhance in lethality and effectiveness will assist the power construction higher meet the calls for of the administration’s new methods. The BRAC course of can have this twin emphasis on enhancing the army worth of installations whereas rationalizing and decreasing prices in actual property.

During the panel, Hunter confused the significance of getting congressional champions of the BRAC course of to be able to get it accredited.

Currently, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., have proposed a bipartisan modification to the National Defense Authorization Act that might authorize a brand new spherical of BRAC. This demonstrates that the Senate Armed Services Committee management is engaged and supportive of a brand new spherical.

On the House aspect, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., additionally has a model of legislative language that might authorize a brand new spherical of BRAC.

In addition to the modification course of, when each chambers convention on this 12 months’s National Defense Authorization Act, there shall be time so as to add language that authorizes a brand new spherical of BRAC. It will all hinge on our present congressional management and the significance it locations on discovering efficiencies and optimizing our protection infrastructure.

Hopefully, Congress will perceive the significance of a brand new spherical of BRAC and authorize a brand new one. Our warfighters and taxpayers deserve it.

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