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DEL. MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO (D-GU): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for calling this meeting today.
Mr. Grone, thank you for testifying, and I also want to thank you for your service and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Mr. Lepore, I appreciate all the work that the Government Accountability Office, especially your team, and for matters of the interest on Guam that you have rendered.
My question has to do with cost savings. The skepticism of the cost savings with the BRAC process has been well known, and I have long been skeptical about the cost-saving benefits of the BRAC process.
In the 1990s, Guam was the crosshairs of BRAC, with the closing of several critical installations on our island, namely, the naval air station and the U.S. ship repair facility. At the time, I was the lieutenant governor and the chair of the BRAC Commission closures, and I traveled many times to the Pentagon to plead with them not to close bases on Guam because of its strategic position.
The base closures in my opinion were intended to save the department money in the long run; however, nearly a decade later, the strategists are re-proclaiming Guam as the most strategic asset in the Pacific, and now we prepare to meet the demands of an estimated 30,000-person increase in population primarily as a result of the realignment of nearly 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa costing nearly $14 billion over the next six years.
This military buildup on the island makes the BRAC decisions of the 1990s seem shortsighted and has made the current realignment more difficult as DOD seeks to reclaim lands, improve infrastructure that had been neglected for many years.
Perhaps the 2005 round of BRAC has yielded what some would believe to be similarly shortsighted recommendations. Now, among these recommendations would be the decision to close Fort Monmouth. The GAO report released yesterday indicates that there are cost overruns totaling about $680 million resulting from the realignment of personnel and military assets from the fort to other locations in the United States.
Fort Monmouth is an important military asset for research and testing and evaluation of new technologies. As DOD continues to implement this BRAC recommendation, what steps are being taken to mitigate any further cost overruns specifically associated with the BRAC changes at Fort Monmouth?
Additionally, the GAO report cites that part of the cost overruns are due to the fact that personnel and infrastructure changes at other military installations such as Aberdeen Proving Ground could potentially delay the actual closing of Fort Monmouth. I fear that such a delay issue could also emerge with regard to the realignment of military forces from Okinawa to Guam.
Why hasn't the department built in buffer time for these types of moves?
MR. GRONE: Well, ma'am, the answer to your last question is the statute provides the deadline. The legal mandate is that all base realignment and closure actions resulting from the 2005 round must be completed by September 15th, 2011. That is not a discretionary choice on the part of the department. We have to finish by that deadline.
The question of cost and savings at the general level, while I understand your question, I respectfully disagree. Our colleagues in the Government Accountability Office and we, as was indicated earlier, have this disagreement over military personnel savings. Even if you discount, which I don't concede, the military personnel savings that result from this round, the savings are still substantial at over $2 billion in annual recurring savings beginning in 2012.
When I served on this committee as a member of staff, a good MILCON program for any of the components in any given year was a billion dollars. So from my perspective, that's the rough equivalent of two military department's MILCON programs every year from here to the far horizon.
Those are resources that can be reallocated to other purposes, and if you concede the point on military personnel eliminations and the savings and cost avoidances that come from that, now we're talking about $4 billion in annual recurring savings on an annual basis that can be more effectively applied to mission support or military construction or the movement of the Marine Corps from Okinawa to Guam or whatever the mission set might be.
Even with -- on the question of savings, this question of what is the annual recurring savings from the closure and realignment of the missions at Fort Monmouth. Both we and the GAO agree that there is a savings. Those savings are -- given the nature of Fort Monmouth, those savings do not accrue, and this is not a dispute over whether or not military personnel savings are real or not. These are savings that result from overhead and it's a point that we and the audit community do not disagree on.
And as I previously indicated, one of the great challenges in implementation is timely receipt of appropriations. And again, we are in a position where we are at the 26 and a half months we've had effectively to legally implement the decisions of the commission as they were enacted into law, and for 14 of those 26 and a half months we've been encumbered by some -- (word inaudible) -- act. And our ability to get to the legal deadline is entirely dependent, again, upon the ability to apply resources where they are needed, on time to be able to accomplish the mission.
DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you, Mr. Grone. I also respectfully disagree on the savings.
I'm very curious about Guam, because now we are spending billions of dollars to rebuild housing and what have you that's laid dormant for all these years, and in the tropics, things deteriorate very quickly.
And I'm just curious -- I'm having the staff here look up the savings. Were there savings on these, closing the bases in Guam?
MR. GRONE: I don't have the COBRA analysis --
DEL. BORDALLO: Could I ask you to provide the committee with the cost savings? Because I'm -- now we are spending so many billions of dollars to relocate, and all of a sudden we've decided that Guam is strategic.
So I just wondered, you know, if you could provide the cost savings for the naval activities on Guam.
MR. GRONE: We could.
DEL. BORDALLO: All right.
MR. GRONE: I would caution, ma'am, though that some of the -- it's not entirely an apples-to-apples comparison because some of the facilities that were closed are not facilitates that are going to be used to support the Marine move from Okinawa to Guam.
DEL. BORDALLO: I understand that. I understand that.
MR. GRONE: So there would have been significant acquisition activity of facilities in any event, even if the '93 round had not occurred.
DEL. BORDALLO: Mr. Chairman, if I could, I have one more quick question for Mr. Grone.
REP. ORTIZ: Because our new member from Colorado is very anxious to ask a question -- he's a new member. But go ahead. Go ahead.
DEL. BORDALLO: Very quick. I'm just curious about the BRAC 2005 joint basing. A joint base will be valuable on Guam if cost savings are realized; however, some of these joint basings, I don't know if they've been 100 percent workable.
I'm just wondering, the Air Force base and the naval base on Guam are 20 miles apart. Now, the mere geographical separation of the two installations could inhibit the foreseen cost savings envisions by BRAC recommendations. So to that end, to what extent will the department allow base commanders to determine how joint basings will be implemented?
That's my question.
MR. GRONE: The joint basing recommendations are among that small set of recommendations that -- where business plans have yet to be approved. There is a significant set of proposals on guidance to the field about how to implement joint basing.
There remains some -- although the differences have narrowed -- there remains some disagreement about one or two core principles, and the senior leadership will have to sort through those disagreements.
Under any scenario, without regard to the policy issues that are in dispute, the process that we are laying out begins at the local level within a framework of overall guidance. And there will be some considerable discretion at the local level to design processes that make sense.
We are currently conducting tabletop exercises at all of the joint base locations, and we have conducted them in Guam.
DEL. BORDALLO: Yes.
MR. GRONE: They are designed to inform the memorandas of agreement that are going to be necessary to implement that process, and my expectation is that those MOAs would be ratified by the vice chiefs of service.
So we will have a process that will reflect local requirement. We're not going to manage that with a cross-the-world screwdriver on Guam down to the, you know, down to some very narrow -- (inaudible). But we are going to put it within a basket of general guidance so that commanders have some surety about what they need to do.
DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you, Mr. Grone. And just so you keep Guam on the radar screen.
MR. GRONE: Yes, ma'am.
DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you very much, Lieutenant Governor Brown. I'm very pleased to have you here today, and it was very nice meeting you earlier. We both shared some of the same duties, at least in my past life.
Now the chair would like to recognize Mr. Michael Houlemard, president of the Association of Defense Communities.
And also to remind you that each of you has five minutes to testify. Anyone whose statement is longer than the five minutes, it will be entered into the record.
MR. HOULEMARD: Thank you, Chairwoman. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Association of Defense Communities today and thank Chairman Ortiz, all the distinguished members of the subcommittee for this opportunity.
As a representative of the Association of Defense Communities, I'm honored to represent all of the association membership. We have over 1,400 members with -- representing more than 100 different communities across this nation. We are the nation's premier organization representing these diverse interests of communities. We're particularly noted (sic) today that Congressman Farr attended who received the prior award from the Association of Defense Communities, as we recognize all of our country's leadership for its support of communities and defense installations.
ADC members include communities responding to the full range of BRAC impacts, including numerous communities affected by previous BRAC rounds that are still coping with the significant impact of closure and especially environmental problems. We also represent every major community that's impacted by 2005 decisions.
ADC's diverse membership places us in a unique position to address the success, challenges and concerns of defense communities. And today, I'd like to highlight just a few key themes that come from the written presentation that was offered earlier.
First, I want to speak about growth communities where the arrival of thousands, and, as lieutenant governor just mentioned, tens of thousands of new residents place a considerable strain on the local infrastructure. As you heard from him and others, there is an increasing demand for schools in growth communities, which also must provide health care, roads, police, fire, child care, sewer and a full array of municipal services that historically have been provided on base and with federal funds. These growth communities are both eager to support their local installation and anxious to welcome the arriving missions. However, many communities, especially the rural ones, face overwhelming financial challenges if they are to fully support such a large influx of military growth.
Second, I want to point out that from our historical perspective we've observed several trends throughout the course of the reuse planning, environmental remediation, property disposal and economic development components of BRAC. We particularly applaud the efforts of the Defense Department and the Office of Economic Adjustment as well as the military services in supporting the BRAC 2005 closure communities as they move ahead with the initial planning process. Many successes have occurred there.
However, after community reuse plans have been completed, the most significant problems arise for communities. Once the base is finally closed and the last soldier or sailor leaves, communities encountered new challenges, such as the required maintenance of significant facilities and infrastructure. As the members of this committee are undoubtedly aware, crucial decisions must be made about caretaker needs. Most of those have been underfunded and historically have created much problems -- underfunding the BRAC account, that is -- which will, which can, which has resulted in lost use and value in these significant assets.
Second, environmental cleanup, and of both the pace and the cost associated with environmental cleanup and the remediation process is significant to many closure communities.
And then finally, we want to point out the concerns we have about property disposal and what seems to be a very heavy reliance on public sales that may inhibit or potentially delay prospects for successful redevelopment in communities. It is certainly ADC's belief that federal government must continue to consider and emphasize that there is more to disposal and reuse than simply the monetary gain or return to the Department of Defense. As our national economy slows and individual communities are impacted, we hope the department will rely on other property disposal tools such as economic development conveyances, as Congressman Farr indicated, and including at no cost to dispose of base property and ensure successful, speedy community- driven reuse.
And lastly, certainty is an important requirement for communities in their response to BRAC recommendations. Driving local planning efforts in both closure and growth cases, while ensuring they stay on track, is the certainty of change. A firm deadline and an unwavering decision provide communities with the necessary certainty to allocate scarce public resources and the ability to attract private investment.
The absence or erosion of certainty sends a very dangerous message to the marketplace and to other communities affected by BRAC decisions, injecting doubt into in already complex, sophisticated and arduous process.
Certainty helps local communities to budget the resources and to craft policies that will aid in their ability to support the military mission and growth. Communities rely on this certainty and equity to make plans for the dealing with closure, and ADC is concerned that there might be an unprecedented, an unusual precedent, that would be set if the closure process is reopened in a way that affects communities down the line.
A secondary component to this certainty process is the financial impact. In addition to programmatic uncertainty, communities affected by BRAC 2005 must also be assured that military services receive an adequate stream of funding to carry out the BRAC recommendations. Chairman Ortiz earlier today made some comments that we were very encouraged by in support of the certainty that are -- was prior to the 2005 decisions.
We have a significant additional amount of comments that we prepared in our written comments, Chairwoman, but thank you for the opportunity to appear today as ADC looks forward to its ongoing relationship between the -- this subcommittee and America's defense communities.
REP. BORDALLO: Thank you very much, Mr. Houlemard.
And now the chair recognizes Dr. John Deegan, president of the Military Impacted Schools Association.
MR. DEEGAN: Thank you, Chairwoman. We appreciate the opportunity to be invited to offer testimony today.
We really as an organization represent all the military children not served by DOD. DOD actually serves about 100,000 students in the United States and overseas, and there's about 500,000 students that we represent. And those children are as important as any, and we recognize many of the challenges they are facing at this time.
We want to make sure that you understand how important it is that schools quite often are the system to support the military and those young children. And when they are disturbed or bothered by deployment or whether it be a BRAC operation where we're moving people, you know, they have needs in their schools as well. And they quite often look to their teacher or to their school for help.
And the public schools that are serving these children are facing a number of changes as well. The whole military transformation that we heard about from Mr. Grone and the changes that we're looking at in restructuring the military -- the housing privatization where children and families were moved off base, then moved back on base, moved to different neighborhoods and houses, and we as an organization took a really hard look at how that was going to affect them. And many of the young people are going to be affected in their housing, through free and reduced lunch, or Title 1, or food stamps, and we've taken care of that with the help of Congress to make sure those aren't hardships those families have to face.
With the whole global rebasing it's kind of interesting that we have at one point -- it's been a couple of years now we've been talking about moving people from overseas to the United States. And as an example, those children that are being moved here, there's no money follows those children.
So wherever DOD can build schools around the United States or -- excuse me, around the world, DOD can put them here and put them there. And even where the Army built a school recently at Fort Hood -- or at Fort Stewart -- the whole idea of movement of people and the BRAC -- affect of BRAC has left a lot of schools wondering how I'm going to deal with those kids and how I'm going to deal with the facilities that are there. And we've been talking a lot about that. The idea that the Army is "remodulizing" has a big effect right now because no one's sure where people are going to be going.
The idea of the BRAC, sometimes there's effects because of bonding where somebody may have spent money, set up a bond and they're paying off their bonds and through BRAC have changes. And sometimes in a school district they may lose 10,000 and pick up 10,000, and that has a tremendous effect because in the impact aid, when you get to count a child that year, whoever's there by January 30th you count that year and you get the money the following year.
If you happen to come in after January 30th, the military family moves in in February, we don't get funding for two years because it will take the next year to do the count and the next year to get the funding.
So we have some real funding issues and Congress has been real good about helping us with -- through -- not through the DOD bill but by attaching to the DOD bill. We have an element where we put on an amendment on that bill to ask for additional funding to kind of bridge the gap.
Many years ago at Impact Aid the impact aid law took care of that because it was in the law. In '94 that was eliminated from the law because it didn't look like we were going to have a lot of movement and change, and that was the force that wanted to take and change that. Well, today we need that more than ever at Impact Aid, and the way it's helped us to do it is through Congress stepping up.
In 2006 we got $7 million; in 2008 we got $8 million -- or excuse me, in '07 we got $8 million; in 2008 we got zero. And everybody's kind of in shock saying all these kids moving back, all this activity, why didn't we get any money? So we're still asking that question and we're hoping to be able to work in the 2009 budget to be able to put that together. And we as school districts depend on the Impact Aid program, but one little bit of a thought -- just to let you know -- that program contains low-rent housing, civil service, Indian lands and military; it's not just a military program.
If you put one dollar into the Impact Aid Program, then we get 40 cents out of that dollar, and so these schools are asking, you know, how we can get help, and we're looking for the best way to get help.
I would tell you when it comes to DOD, we get tremendous amount of talk; we don't get anything but talk. And Mr. Grone today used the words, "we're planning; we're working with; we're assessing; we're doing everything," but never ends up in any money from DOD.
DOD can always do it for the 100,000 military kids, but they can't do it for the 500,000 in our communities. And the OEA has been good too, but they're also talking and planning but no money has surfaced. They've got an idea and a plan, but no money has surfaced.
Thank you to Congress for what you've done.
DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you very much, Dr. Deegan, for your testimony.
And now for our final witness, Mr. Victor Ferlise, the former deputy to the commanding general for operations and support for Communications Electronics Life Cycle Management Command.
MR. FERLISE: Good afternoon, Madame Chairman. As the deputy at Fort Monmouth I was responsible for 14 years for the acquisition logistics, research and development that went on there. I'm going to use an acronym, C4ISR, Command, Control, Computers, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance. That is the business of Fort Monmouth; that is what saves warfighters' lives.
I'm here today to tell you that the BRAC decision that we're discussing was unsupported by any objective evidence; it was developed in violation of the BRAC law. It was developed in violation of the DOD guidance on joint core servicing; it was the result of holding crucial financial information from the BRAC Commission.
Now, you heard this morning -- and this is added to my remarks, and I apologize -- that there was not certified data.
I'm here to tell you it was certified; I certified it on July 14th, four months before the commission met. I understand from other sources technical information was suppressed under a suggestion that the material was secret, and it was not secret. That all leads me to a conclusion that this was a predetermined conclusion on the part of the Army leadership that is unfounded and ill-advised -- ill-advised for warfighters; that's what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about that we told them the money was wrong in the beginning; we did tell them the money was wrong.
We told them it was $1.44 million dollars -- billion dollars, excuse me. I said that; I signed that. It's absolutely true. An interesting fact is I realized that that would not be well received. I asked for an Army Audit Agency, an independent agency, to come in and review our data to make sure we weren't wrong. That decision was not reviewed. The Army Audit Agency was directed not to review that data. That data did not go into the certification that was submitted to the BRAC Commission and was not posted or did not come to light until December, four months after that, when that document became part of the official record of the BRAC Commission.
So when I hear people say about growth -- I listened to the comptroller general this morning discuss growth. Well, I was there when we talked about the cost of building the U.S. Military Academy Prep School at West Point. We had just completed a $25 million renovation of that facility and the proposal came in and was passed on to the commission that it would cost $22 million.
On June 14th, five months before the final BRAC hearings, there was a 1391 presented to the Army for $227 million. So it's not about growth; these are no surprises. And that's not what I want to talk to you about today. What I want to talk to you about is the 4,000 soldiers that lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to things like improvised explosive devices. Those devices that killed and maimed most of our soldiers are centrally managed from Fort Monmouth.
It's an extraordinary program with extraordinary talent, cutting across all of the services. The heads of every joint panel come from Fort Monmouth engineers. They're Fort Monmouth personnel.
Why is that? Because that's the center of excellence for counter IEDs. Does it say no one else is doing it? No, others are doing it, but they work in collaboration with Fort Monmouth. So when we talk about closing Fort Monmouth, we are throwing out a lot of technology that will be extremely difficult to replace.
Madame Chairman, there's only a matter of time before those IEDs come to our shores. It is the weapon of choice for insurgents. I know the Department of Homeland Security has undertaken some work to begin that. All that technology is at Monmouth. The actuating mechanisms is what we defeat. More than 500 times the enemy has changed those actuating mechanisms and immediately that information goes through the FBI, TDAC (sp) center and comes to Monmouth where it's analyzed and countermeasures are built and sent to the field, either through software upgrades of existing systems -- which now, by the way, number in the 30,000 range -- or through replacement of hardware.
If you travel to the theater, or if any of the members have, they've been protected by things like -- excuse me -- Warlock green, Warlock blue, Warlock red, Warlock brown, the most recent. Those systems come from engineers at Forth Monmouth. They are sustained by people at Fort Monmouth. Fort Monmouth is the national inventory control point for electronics. There is not another location where that is done. Every day -- by close of business today there will be 1,300 more requisitions there for support of our soldiers.
For this year it will go over 400,000, and since 9/11 it's more than 3 million requisitions have been processed through there. This past year $14.5 billion in contracts were awarded out of Fort Monmouth. When I listened to the secretary testify to the commission, he said that he wanted to move Fort Monmouth closer to its test ranges. Well, Fort Monmouth's test ranges are not at Aberdeen Proving Ground. They are well-developed; they're at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. And the secretary was told that by Commissioner Coyle and he simply dismissed it.
He was supposed to do joint cross servicing; that's what this was about. This was a real opportunity. DOD said do joint cross servicing There are three electronics commands in DOD; Fort Monmouth has one, Hanscom Airfield has one, and San Diego SPAWAR has one. It could have been a choice to pull these together, pick the best of breed and build on that. We didn't.
We took an agency that was number one in technology and C4SISR and we're moving it to an installation that is less than number 10. It doesn't have that capability there, and that was well understood by Commissioner Coyle and he attempted to explain it. But I tell you today that I think it was a predetermined decision and it warrants looking at in every single aspect.
Why was AAA directed not to review my numbers? Because my numbers would have disclosed that this was a ridiculous idea. Why were they not allowed to see the suppressed technical data? The same reason: It would expose what is a faulty decision.
I can't be more passionate than this than I am. I have to tell you, Fort Monmouth is the national inventory control point for electronics. One half of all national stock-numbered items in the entire Army are managed from Fort Monmouth. That means that one out of two soldiers, one out of two things the soldier touches come from Fort Monmouth.
They are always in the electronics field and night vision, all kinds of countermeasures. If you flew in Iraq, you had jammers on those aircrafts; they come from Fort Monmouth. The pilot was flying with our night vision equipment. The radios in that aircraft come from Fort Monmouth. The radar warning receiver that tells the pilot he's going to be shot by a missile comes from there and he can react to it.
Now, I heard this morning, I heard about how hard things were and how difficult it was from my co-panelist here. I'm going to tell you what hard is because I understand what hard is. Hard is when a group of soldiers are asked to go out of the compound in the morning and half of them come back dead or shot up because an IED blew up. That's not something to fool with here, and that is what we're fooling with, make no mistake about it. It's a tragic mistake and that's why I'm here today to explain that to you.
The BRAC Commission -- there was intense debate on it and I understand the legal position advanced by Secretary Grone here, and I understand how they have to do that, but a question was asked of him is, what would it take to have DOD come back and say it's a mistake? I think the answer should be there is something that would. And it's where we're losing soldiers.
And I realize that I'm over my time. I thank you for your consideration.
I would also just -- in my remarks I talked about the American Federation of Scientists. They have one quote that I'd just like to read that, "There is firm evidence that some Pentagon officials" -- not all, maybe not Mr. Grone, and I suggest not Mr. Grone -- but "some Pentagon officials deliberately misled the BRAC Commission, thereby deceiving the president, deceiving the United States Congress and deceiving the rest of DOD and, more importantly, the American public."
I attended two funerals of soldiers from New Jersey, and the last one was in September 2007. A Marine was killed in Iraq as a result of an improvised explosive device. I'm seeing the stop signal here, but I just have to tell you that the horror that was on the face of those families is something we can't let continue.
And I can tell you one last thing, if I might. In the 29 months since this decision was made, the Army still cannot articulate an intelligent reason -- they were asked three times, why are we doing this?
I didn't hear one answer, but I heard -- like my friend next to me -- I heard, we're going to be told that answer. If it's such a good answer, you should have been doing it all along. And no steps -- no steps -- have been taken to ensure no impact as a result of this move. No steps have been taken.
Thank you very much. I apologize for my passion on the subject, but I'm here because I speak for warfighters. I'm not speaking for the people at Fort Monmouth, the jobs, the money. It's about soldiers. You're touching the wrong thing here.
Thank you, Madam.
DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you very much, Mr. Ferlise, and I understand your passionate views and the committee is very grateful for these very disturbing facts but also very valuable. And they will take them into account.
I also would like to mention, because we will be asking a few questions here -- I'm sitting in for the chairman who's down on the floor voting. Without objection, the witnesses' full prepared testimony will be entered into the record.
My first question is to you, Governor. Would you say you're satisfied with the information that the department has provided to local communities? Is it sufficient to begin the detail community planning, to prepare for the additional personnel expected at the conclusion of BRAC? And how has the department assisted in supporting the BRAC changes?
LT. GOV. BROWN: Thank you, Congresswoman.
You know, of course in this business, you know, you never want to say you're satisfied because you're always -- you know, want to maintain your vigilance and make sure that you have the most timely and accurate and updated information. What I will tell you is that in 2006 when we received our first numbers from the department, we were able to conduct a Department of Labor-funded study where we could project, based on the number of direct jobs that were anticipated to move to Maryland, we could project the number of indirect jobs, the number of households. And based on planning formula, we have a pretty good idea of whether the households will locate in Maryland, where the businesses are likely to establish their operations. And we've been able to make some progress, considerable progress, with that information.
Since that report, that DOL-funded report, which came out in December of 2006 based on the preliminary numbers we got, we continue to stay in dialogue with the department.
As I mentioned in my testimony, we have visited with the leadership at Monmouth and at DISA; we have regular meetings with the installation commanders, constantly updating our numbers in terms of the number of direct jobs, indirect jobs, and then we can calculate the induced jobs from that.
So while we are grateful for the information we have, we continue to be determined to make sure that it's always the most accurate, and at this point I cannot say that the department has not been anything less than candid and forthright with giving us that information.
DEL. BORDALLO: Part of the question, then, that I asked was, has the department assisted in supporting these changes? Would you say yes?
LT. GOV. BROWN: Yes.
DEL. BORDALLO: I have a question also for Dr. Deegan.
Are communities able to provide sufficient education facilities to support the 50,000 dependents expected to relocate as a result of BRAC 2005?
MR. DEEGAN: In a real simple answer, no. Most recently, like at Fort Riley, they were dealing with moving the troops in there and they opened up a Kmart store as a part of their school district. We have a number of people that are doing that, trying to get by because they don't have the bonding capacity or the will to get that done in a major military installation. And so the answer's no.
DEL. BORDALLO: Another question I have for you, Doctor, is some rural communities have indicated that their bonding capacity is not sufficient to absorb an influx of additional dependents without federal assistance. Could you explain some of these difficulties?
MR. DEEGAN: The difficulties you have -- as an example, a bonding capacity may be just based on the size of the district and the rating. They may not be able to do all that bonding at one time. A second thing is, who's going to vote for a bond issue in a major military community? Of course, the military, if they registered to vote there, would vote for it. But people in the community won't vote for it because they don't want to be stuck with the debt when the military moves on. So bonding, or voting for bonds or getting bonds passed, is a very poor way to deal with the problem.
DEL. BORDALLO: Thank you, Dr. Deegan.
I have one more question for Mr. Ferlise. How effective is the department's relocation assistance in helping impacted employees?
MR. FERLISE: I've been retired since February, so I can't tell what's happening right now, but I know the personnel people at Fort Monmouth are working to accomplish that. So I really can't be responsive on the employees.
DEL. BORDALLO: I wish to thank all the witnesses. There is a little chaos going on here; we have to be called to the floor. And incidentally, for those in the audience who wonder why I'm not on the floor voting, I'm a territorial representative. We only vote for amendments, not the final passage of legislation. So I don't want you to think that I'm neglecting my duties in the U.S. Congress.
But I do want to thank each and every one of you for very insightful testimony. All of your testimony will be included in the record, and the chairman, again, thanks each of the witnesses for being with us through this long period of time.
The -- (off mike consultation) -- I've been told that the Readiness Subcommittee for the Armed Services will recess until further notice. (Sounds gavel.)
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