House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman (VA-1) today released a statement following a hearing questioning whether a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is appropriate in the current fiscal environment:
"To say the least, we are operating in a very challenging fiscal environment that is full of constraints and uncertainty. After holding a thoughtful and detailed hearing on the BRAC process, studying the history of recent BRACs, and analyzing the GAO's reports on the BRAC issue, I wanted to hear from the administration their reasoning for suggesting a BRAC in the coming FY2014 budget. Following the discussion today, I continue to believe that now is not the time for a BRAC. There is simply not enough evidence to even consider moving forward in such a time of uncertainty. The process of BRAC costs a substantial amount money to execute, and real savings don't accrue for years after the BRAC is initiated. In the case of BRAC 2005, we will not accrue savings until 2018, 13 years into its implementation. We have too many long-view decisions that need to be to sorted out and need to settle before we make a short sighted decision to authorize a BRAC round. The Defense Department (DoD) already faces over $487 billion in cuts over the next ten years through the Budget Control Act. Additionally, this administration cut an additional $100 billion from DoD in the summer of 2010. On top of all this, sequestration is the law of the land now and we face an additional $500 billion in cuts over the next ten years. That is over $1 trillion in cuts to our DoD in the next ten years. If the administration decides to offer a request for another BRAC round this fiscal year, I would again vigorously and actively oppose such an initiative based upon our discussion today.
"Our military needs to reset and formulate an effective strategy that can match the budget, and not simply settle for a budget that shapes our strategy. Should DoD be more efficient? Absolutely. However, the DoD needs to do more homework and analysis on how to execute BRAC before the Congress even considers authorizing any BRAC round in the future. They need to have their goals and priorities for BRAC in line with what they want our all-volunteer force to do in the 21st Century. We do not want to repeat what happened in 2005. I believe that moving forward with a BRAC round would significantly harm our military and their ability to project power and would discourage the administration from including it in their proposal for FY2014."
View his closing remarks from the hearing here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDnbcnaS8eA.
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee where he is the Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee.