A bipartisan group of more than 30 different organizations, including Concerned Veterans for America, have joined a loud chorus of senior military officials and top lawmakers of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees advocating for the military to eliminate excess infrastructure.
In an open letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committee, the broad coalition of think tank and advocacy groups addressed two of the major concerns that are impeding Congress from authorizing a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. The first issue the letter discussed was that the BRAC process is harmful to communities that are near bases set to close. As the letter states, the evidence from previous BRACs do not support this concern:
“A 2005 study by the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment looked at over 70 communities impacted by a base closure, and determined that nearly all civilian defense jobs lost were eventually replaced. The new jobs are in a variety of industries and fields, allowing communities to diversify their economies away from their excessive reliance on the federal government.”
Even worse, Congress’ reluctance to implement BRAC is actually hurting the very communities they’re trying to protect. The letter notes last year Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work sent congressional leaders a letter explaining how communities are being impacted by the refusal to authorize a BRAC:
“Under current fiscal restraints, local communities will experience economic impacts regardless of a congressional decision regarding BRAC authorization. This has the harmful and unintended consequence of forcing the Military Departments to consider cuts at all installations, without regard to military value.”
The second concern the letter addressed was the cost of implementing BRAC. Although there are up-front costs associated with BRAC, the savings from every BRAC round vastly outweigh those initial costs. The first four BRAC rounds are producing annual savings of around $7 billion. Moreover, the 2005 BRAC is producing annual savings of $5 billion–despite it being centered on realignment of existing facilities.
Reducing excess infrastructure will make the Pentagon much more efficient in allocating resources towards where they are needed the most. BRAC is critical to increasing financial stability and our national security. Congress should take notice of the group’s advice and act quickly to implement BRAC.
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