The Pentagon’s Push to Close Bases Is ‘Dead on Arrival’

A top Defense official said the department is already hearing that its request is doomed.

National Journal
Jordain Carney
Feb. 25, 2014, 9:49 a.m.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion isn’t drop­ping its 2015 de­fense budget un­til next week, but one pro­vi­sion in it already ap­pears doomed: a push to re­lo­cate or close mil­it­ary bases.

De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel on Monday out­lined the De­fense De­part­ment’s budget re­quest for the com­ing fisc­al year, ask­ing Con­gress to ap­prove an­oth­er round of base re­align­ment and clos­ure in 2017.

But Pentagon of­fi­cials are already hear­ing that the re­quest would be “dead on ar­rival on Cap­it­ol Hill,” act­ing Deputy De­fense Sec­ret­ary Christine Fox said Tues­day at a de­fense budget con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton.

The last round of BRAC, which oc­curred in 2005, over­shot ini­tial cost pro­jec­tions by ap­prox­im­ately $14 bil­lion, and in a time of fisc­al aus­ter­ity mem­bers of Con­gress are wary of try­ing again.

Fox ac­know­ledged that “nobody looks for­ward to clos­ing bases or fa­cil­it­ies,” and it wouldn’t be the first time mem­bers have blocked the Pentagon. De­fense of­fi­cials in­cluded a re­quest in its past two budget re­quests, only to be shot down.

Des­pite Con­gress’s re­luct­ance, 91 per­cent of Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Se­cur­ity In­siders said earli­er this month that Con­gress needs to al­low the Pentagon to close mil­it­ary bases.

But vot­ing to close bases also has a P.R.-angle for mem­bers of Con­gress — who while largely vot­ing to sup­port the smal­ler budget num­bers — don’t want to be re­spons­ible for clos­ing bases, and cost­ing jobs, in their own dis­tricts and states.

DOD of­fi­cials be­lieve they have ap­prox­im­ately 25 per­cent more bases than they need for the force re­duc­tions the mil­it­ary is un­der­go­ing — both in con­nec­tion to the budget and sep­ar­ately, Fox said.

The sav­ings the De­fense De­part­ment hopes to achieve through an­oth­er BRAC round will be in­cluded in the soon-to-be-re­leased budget, Fox noted, but ad­ded that it “doesn’t show a lot of the long-term sav­ings that we hope to get.”

What We're Following See More »
‘PULLING A TRUMP’
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Source:
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×