A measure authored by Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, today passed the House Armed Services Committee during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the yearly defense policy bill. Wittman offered an amendment to prohibit Fiscal Year 2013 funds from being utilized to propose, plan for, or execute any additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds. The amendment passed 44-18 with strong bipartisan support.
"BRAC rounds cost more than they save in the near-term and negate the value of deficit reduction, while costing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs," Wittman said. "We have yet to see any savings from the last BRAC round in 2005, with the closures costing an estimated $36 billion. That's a cost we simply cannot afford right now. Strategically, as we draw down after over 10 years of combat operations in the Middle East and shift our focus to balancing the Middle East threat with the emerging security interests and presence of forces in the Asia Pacific, additional rounds of BRAC at this time cannot be justified. I'm pleased the Committee passed this important amendment."
The 2005 BRAC round, completed in 2011, is estimated to cost $36 billion and the taxpayers will not recognize any net savings until 2018 at the earliest. New rounds of military base closures would require additional expenses in a time of military spending reductions.
Early in 2012, the Obama Administration announced its intention to request two new rounds of military base closures through BRAC. BRAC rounds must be authorized by Congress.
In February, Wittman joined in a bipartisan letter to the President expressing concerns with additional BRAC rounds.
House Armed Services Committee consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act began at 10 am. and will continue throughout the day. Proceedings can be viewed online at www.armedservices.house.gov.