Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) today reiterated his opposition to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) proposal included in the President's Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, following a House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing with top Defense Department officials to review the budget request. Wittman expressed his concerns with BRAC in a hearing he led on March 14, 2013, in advance of the release of the President's budget and asked Secretary Hagel for specifics in Hagel's first appearance before the HASC.
Citing concerns of bloated costs from the 2005 BRAC, Wittman asked Secretary Hagel if BRAC would be appropriate with the multitude of elements facing the Department. Hagel reiterated his support for the proposals of a FY2015 BRAC round. BRAC 2005 was originally estimated to cost $21 billion, and is now estimated at $35 billion, a 66 percent increase.
Wittman released the following statement:
"I am disappointed that the Pentagon and the Administration have chosen to ignore the strategic elements giving bipartisan pause to BRAC across Congress. House and Senate, Republican and Democrat members have voiced their concerns that now is not the time for a BRAC, given the multitude of challenges facing our military: sequestration, the drawdown in Afghanistan, the reset of our force and shift in strategy to the Asia-Pacific region. A recent non-partisan Government Accountability Office report raised legitimate questions that the Department has not been able to answer in its assessment, or lack thereof, for BRAC. While I wholeheartedly support finding efficiencies in DOD, I will continue to oppose a BRAC based upon the lack of information, current budget challenges and the additional cost associated with it, that this nation cannot afford in the current environment."