Congressional Opposition To Another BRAC Grows
By Deborah Straszheim
March 22, 2012
A U.S. Senate subcommittee chairwoman says she'll oppose the review that could affect military bases, including the sub base in Groton
The chairwoman of a U.S. Senate subcommittee reviewing the defense department budget said she will not support another round of military base reviews and closures, a decision which could affect the submarine base in Groton.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, said during a hearing Wednesday she does not believe the Pentagon has made a case to justify more base reviews.
“While I applaud the department’s desire to find responsible places to achieve savings, there is one area where there is absolutely no room for compromise this year: BRAC,” said McCaskill, according to a statement on her website.
BRAC stands for Base Realignment and Closure Commission, and the defense department said last month another round might be coming in 2013. The commission makes recommendations about which bases should close.
Groton’s sub base was targeted for partial closure during BRAC in 1993 and total closure in 2005, but congressional leaders and the community organized to prevent the cuts.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney issued a statement Thursday saying McCaskill’s remark dealt “what The Hill called ‘a potentially fatal blow’” to another round of base reviews.
Bob Ross, executive director of the Connecticut Office of Military Affairs, said he is “very happy” to hear that there appears to be consensus not to have BRAC in 2013.
But he said Thursday he believes 2014 and 2015 remain on the table.
“I still stand by what I’ve said repeatedly,” he said. “It’s not if a BRAC is going to come, it’s when.”
The last BRAC commission in 2005, recommended the next round of reviews be held in 2015.
The Subase Coalition, a group organized to prevent closure of the Groton base, met recently to talk about the possibility of another set of reviews and how it might fight them.
Courtney said the community must remain mindful of this possibility.
“While the growing bipartisan opposition to a new BRAC makes Congressional approval of a new round unlikely in this Congress, southeastern Connecticut knows all too well that we must stay vigilant in defending our subase,” his statement said