Members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation today introduced legislation that would require the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission's ill-advised decision to close Fort Monmouth.
"The BRAC process resulted in a bad decision, badly made," said U.S. Rep. Rush Holt. "We know that the Army's estimates on the cost and job loss resulting from Fort Monmouth's closure were not worth the paper they were written on. Anything that we can do to gain that documentation will be helpful in keeping existing talent at Fort Monmouth and maintaining capacity to serve the warfighter."
"We've known all along that the numbers the Pentagon used to justify closing Fort Monmouth were never based in reality, but now it's important to discover who came up with these faulty numbers and why they were used," said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone. "We want GAO to conduct an extensive investigation so that someone will finally be held accountable for this blatantly false information, and we don't want anyone moving to Aberdeen until this investigation is completed."
"I support the efforts of Congressman Holt and Congressman Pallone, who are leading this effort. Congressman Holt's legislation is another tool for us to use in seeking to help Fort Monmouth," said U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton. "We will continue to work together to defend the post."
One bill, introduced today by Rep. Rush Holt with the support of the delegation, would require GAO to investigate the information that the Department of Defense used to justify the closure of Fort Monmouth. Another bill, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith with the support of the delegation, would require GAO to audit a report that DoD is required to produce certifying that the closure of Fort Monmouth will not result in decreased capacity to serve warfighters overseas. Identical versions of each bill were introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sens. Frank R.Lautenberg and Robert Menendez.
"Today we are taking a significant step in the effort to reexamine the decision to close Fort Monmouth. Our bills would ensure the GAO uncovers the truth about the decision to close the fort. They would also certify that no move to Aberdeen would be made that might undermine our troops in the field," said Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said, "We need a full investigation to tell us who intentionally deceived BRAC with misinformation and miscalculations about the closing of Fort Monmouth and why they did it. This is a decision with consequences for our armed forces, the people of New Jersey, the American taxpayer, and getting answers is vital."