Pentagon tries again for BRAC
For the second year in a row, President Obama will ask Congress’s permission to close military bases around the world, but this time the Defense Department has budgeted $2.4 billion for the process to show it’s serious. The Pentagon’s fiscal 2014 defense spending request, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will announce Wednesday afternoon, will ask ...
For the second year in a row, President Obama will ask Congress's permission to close military bases around the world, but this time the Defense Department has budgeted $2.4 billion for the process to show it's serious.
For the second year in a row, President Obama will ask Congress’s permission to close military bases around the world, but this time the Defense Department has budgeted $2.4 billion for the process to show it’s serious.
The Pentagon’s fiscal 2014 defense spending request, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will announce Wednesday afternoon, will ask Congress for a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in 2015, a defense official confirms to the E-Ring, with funds for the downsizing spread out over the five years.
Pentagon officials seeking to meet defense spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act asked Congress last year to consider two BRAC rounds in future years. But the Pentagon did not request any funds for the process, and members of Congress flatly rejected the proposal by arguing that closing military installations requires significant expenses.
This year, the Defense Department bills its $526.6 billion defense spending request as "good stewardship of taxpayer dollars." The Obama administration’s fiscal 2014 request would cut $150 billion over the next 10 years: $50 billion in the first five years, and $100 billion in the remainder.
The specific funding request for a BRAC round is meant to show Congress that the Pentagon is serious about getting started closing excess facilities.
"This is real. Very real," a senior defense official told the E-Ring.
The Pentagon likely will have a tough fight with Capitol Hill. BRAC rounds are incredibly unpopular for members of Congress in districts that rely on the economic engines military bases can provide. In 2012, the BRAC proposal was swatted away by Republican and Democratic authorizers.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s request to close or shrink several Air National Guard units caused such an uproar with members representing those districts that Panetta quickly rescinded the request.
Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron
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