A Defense Business Board report remains a thorn in DoD’s side, even as the agency stands to get an additional $54 billion in spending for fiscal 2018.
The House Armed Services Committee’s top Democrat said Thursday that he plans to reintroduce legislation that would allow the Defense Department to conduct a new round of base realignments and closures (BRAC).
Given enough attention and commitment from the Pentagon’s top leadership, the next administration ought to be able to implement enough business reforms to wring billions of dollars a year out of the Defense Department’s budget, said Robert Hale, who managed DoD’s finances for five years from 2009-2014.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wants DoD to recommend to Congress what bases need to be closed and let lawmakers vote on the closures individually.
Now that Congress looks poised to reject the Defense Department’s requests for another round of base realignments and closures (BRAC) for a fifth year in a row, the Air Force has decided to start its own process to calculate how valuable each of its bases actually are to the various missions it performs.
Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammack is leading the Army’s charge toward more sustainable bases. The Army has some ambitious near-term goals for energy savings.
DoD says its “conservative” estimates show that it is paying to maintain 22 percent more military base infrastructure than it can put to practical use.
Assuming the Army completes its planned drawdown to 450,000 active duty soldiers by the end of next year, the service will own and operate 21 percent more real estate and facilities than it can conceivably put to productive military use.
Military facilities in “failing” condition increased from 7 percent last year to 19 percent this year.
The Air Force had previously predicted it would be fully ready for high-end conflict by 2025. That date keeps slipping because its pilots and planes are busy in the Middle East.
DoD’s 2017 budget includes few changes to pay and benefits, but DoD facilities and procurement take a major hit. The proposal includes an $8.1 billion reduction to acquisition programs, a $1 billion cut to new construction and severe underfunding of base maintenance.
The service is implementing one of the few alternatives it has to a base realignment and closure (BRAC) round: moving soldiers and civilians out of its oldest buildings and shuttering them.
Conference negotiators on the 2016 Defense Authorization Act will convene shortly as Congress comes back from its summer recess. The Defense Department is reviewing the results of base realignment and closure in Europe as it continues to make the case again for another round of BRAC stateside. Michael O’Hanlon, co-director and senior Fellow for Foreign Policy of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution, wrote about BRAC in the National Interest magazine. He tells In Depth with Francis Rose he’s not sure prospects for a round of BRAC are much different now than they have been the past few years.
The Pentagon has proposed base closures for the past four years, and Congress keeps saying no. Among the most costly defense activities is maintaining some 1,000 bases, camps and airfields around the world. How did DoD wind up with so many bases overseas in the first place? David Vine is an associate professor of anthropology at American University and author of “Base Nation: How Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.” He joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin to offer some insight into how the military could rationalize some of this real estate.
The Base Realignment and Closure controversy doesn’t look different than it has the last few Congresses. The Defense Department wants another round of BRAC — Congress says absolutely not. In this week’s edition of Inside the DoD reporter’s notebook, Jared Serbu writes about a group that you wouldn’t expect would want another round of BRAC.