U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) released the following statement in response to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's request for Congress to authorize additional base closures under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The last BRAC process occurred in 2005, when the Pentagon's recommendation to close the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was ultimately overturned by the BRAC Commission.
"Another proposed round of BRAC closures now doesn't make sense for our national defense or our national finances. The Department is in the midst of decisions on our posture overseas, including the possibility of withdrawing forces and closing bases in Europe, and any move to close bases here in the U.S. should not be entertained until that process is concluded.
"Having only last fall completed the implementation of the 2005 BRAC process, it is abundantly clear that the costs of the BRAC round were far greater than predicted, and that the annual savings were far smaller than expected. In fact, according to a November 2009 Government Accountability Office report, the 2005 round cost the nation nearly $35 billion. As a result, it will take well over a decade before the nation potentially realizes enough annual savings from 2005's base closures just to offset the initial costs of the BRAC round.
"There is no doubt that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard remains a fundamental and irreplaceable component of our nation's security. The men and women at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard have provided outstanding, valuable, and efficient service in support of U.S. Naval operations for almost 200 years. No one in the country does what they do as well as they do it.
"Indeed, in 2005, the region fought the winning battle to convince the BRAC Commission that the Department of Defense's recommendation to close the yard was a mistake based on flawed data. When the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was removed from the closure list that year, it validated for the third consecutive BRAC round that the extraordinary work and value of the thousands of men and women who work at the yard is irreplaceable to our Navy and our nation.
"We will stand together, along with the Shipyard workers, the Kittery and Portsmouth communities, and all the people of Maine and New Hampshire to emphasize the importance of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to the Navy, to the Department of Defense, and to America's national security."