DISAPPROVING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE DEFENSE BASE CLOSURE AND REALIGNMENT COMMISSION -- (House of Representatives - October 27, 2005)
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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Chairman, let me say initially I do not believe in the BRAC. I have opposed every BRAC initially from the very beginning, and I have been here in Congress 18 years.
The reason I do not believe in BRAC was somewhat articulated by the previous speaker. I think it is a abrogation of Congress' responsibility. There is no reason why we cannot make these decisions, and to give these decisions to an independent commission, I think, is just a cop-out on our part. So I want to start out with that.
I also want to say in this particular round in 2005, I strongly disapproved of the BRAC even more so than in the past because we are in a war in Iraq. You do not shut down, in my opinion, military infrastructure at a time of war. I think this BRAC in particular is poorly timed and ill advised.
Now, the 2005 round of BRAC also was done hastily, in my opinion, with very little regard to the actual warfighter. A number of bases with great functional value are being shut down in the name of savings. I do not believe anyone at the Department of Defense or any member of the BRAC Commission actually believes that this round of BRAC will actually save us any money, and I listened to many of the BRAC hearings.
I am also truly disappointed because I believed that the BRAC ultimately would try to be an independent broker and that the commission would review each facility, analyze the data, and come to conclusions based on facts. I do not think that was the case. The opposite was the case. In the case of Fort Monmouth, which is the installation near my district, a lot of the people employed there live in my district. We successfully proved, myself, the two Senators and several other Congressmen, including the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt), we successfully proved to the BRAC Commission, in my opinion, that the Army substantially deviated from six of the eight BRAC criteria. The BRAC actually said that, that the Pentagon deviated from six of the eight BRAC criteria.
But, even so, even though the BRAC was supposedly an independent commission tasked with ensuring that the DOD's recommendations would not hurt the warfighter, even though they admitted there was a serious concern about the warfighter and how in the days of Fort Monmouth the communications and electronics functions crucial to Iraq might be seriously hampered, they still decided to include it on the list.
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