Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro [TX-20] is leading a coalition of 27 Republican and Democratic Congressmen to urge the Pentagon to assess military infrastructure abroad before calling for painful cuts in military communities at home. In a letter (attached and below) to Defense Secretary Hagel sent today, the bipartisan coalition--made up of 14 Texas representatives and 10 House Armed Services Committee members--is pressing the Pentagon for information on the hundreds of military bases and installations abroad in order to have a more complete picture of the nation's investments, as well as future basing requirements as the nation winds down from war.
"Like San Antonio, many cities across Texas and our nation thrive because of the military families that invest in them. As a representative of San Antonio, Military City USA, I believe we owe it to these families to be proactive and identify excess capacity at our overseas bases before we are asked to consider another round of painful cuts back home," said Rep. Joaquin Castro [TX-20]. "I am committed to being a strong ally and tireless advocate for our military communities, and I look forward to working with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and across the country to make this issue a priority."
The letter to Secretary Hagel calling for a more and transparent complete picture of our military capabilities abroad is a first step in securing our military readiness at home, ensuring the nation's military families are protected, and reining in wasteful spending.
Texas is home to 15 major military installations and to 148,000 active duty personnel.
The budget submitted for Fiscal Year 2014 by the Pentagon calls for a base realignment and closure (BRAC) round in 2015. BRAC rounds have occurred in 2005, 1995, 1993, 1991, and 1988. The latest BRAC round resulted in 24 major closings nationwide. In Texas, the 2005 commission closed 16 facilities. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO), the 2005 BRAC round cost more than $35 billion, $14 billion more than initial estimates. In the same report the GAO also estimated that the 2005 BRAC rounds amounted to less than a third of the projected one-time savings.