PALLONE & HOLT VOICE SUPPORT FOR AMENDMENT TO DEFENSE BILL DELAYING BRAC ACTION
U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rush Holt (D-NJ) tonight supported an amendment offered to the 2006 Defense Authorization Bill by U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH) that would postpone action on the final Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations.
The amendment states that implementation of the recommendations could not take place until one year after all of the following have taken place: a substantial number of American troops return from Iraq, the recommendations of the Review of Overseas Military Facility Structure are implemented by the Secretary of Defense, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees receive a quadrennial defense review, the National Maritime Security Strategy is implemented and the Homeland Defense and Civil Support directive is implemented.
"Last week, I listened to the BRAC hearings and I saw the commissioners ask many questions related to the fact that our military are now in combat and the Pentagon could not answer many of the more important questions that were asked by the BRAC Commissioners. This was not the case in previous BRAC rounds," Pallone said during debate on the House floor. "The fact of the matter is there are many unanswered questions regarding the future of our military and it's simply not the right time to be shutting down military facilities here at home.
"We have commanders on a daily basis calling back to Fort Monmouth and asking for a particular type of communication or electronic device that needs to be altered in a matter of days or weeks to be prepared for combat," Pallone continued. "Imagine the situation where in the course of the next two of three years that research and development is transferred to another location and all that science and that engineering background is lost."
"Imagine the following scenario," Holt said. "The insurgents have once again changed the frequency that they use to detonate their roadside bombs. A soldier in Iraq calls back to Ft. Monmouth seeking the latest update for his unit's jammers. A voice on the other end says I'm sorry, that person doesn't work here anymorewe're in the middle of a realignment and we haven't found his replacement yet.' That's exactly the kind of scenario that could play out if the Pentagon's plan to close Ft. Monmouth goes forwardand that's simply an unacceptable risk in wartime.
"We can restructure our military for the 21st century, but let's take our time, do it right, and minimize the risk to our warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan," Holt continued. "Our troops deserve no less."