The Pentagon’s top installations official today urged passage of a last-ditch effort by the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee to get congressional authority for a new round of military base closures.
“[BRAC] allows us, quickly and effectively, to enhance the lethality of our forces by coming up with ideal stationing contingencies for combined arms…to make ourselves more lethal on the battlefield,” Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of Defense for energy, installations and the environment, said at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. “We support the Senate’s attempt to try and get a BRAC authorization inserted in the” National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1519 (115)).
The amendment to the defense policy bill, which will be considered later this month, is being offered by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.). It would establish a new Base Realignment and Closure commission to review all installations in 2021.
The support from McCain and Reed is a significant boost to chances for a new BRAC, Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies also noted.
The Pentagon has sought unsuccessfully for years for the political divisive authority.
Hunter said the amendment’s caps on how much the effort would cost up front could prove significant in winning the support of House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas). The House version of bill, H.R. 2810 (115), that was passed earlier this year denied the Pentagon request. to slim down its excess bases and facilities.