Navy, Marine Corps Witnesses Stick To Characterization Of BRAC Need
Defense Communities 360
April 17, 2013
While senior officials for the Navy and Marine Corps acknowledged at a hearing Tuesday of the House Armed Services Committee that they don’t expect to eliminate much infrastructure if a BRAC round is launched in 2015, for the most part they did not go along with the ranking member’s ploy to convince his colleagues to authorize more base closures.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) asked the witnesses if it would be accurate to characterize their needs in a future BRAC as making changes around the edges versus “closing huge, major bases in the middle.”
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos smartly sidestepped the question, stating, “I don’t think I could do a better job of threading that needle than you just did.”
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus reiterated his earlier response to a question about BRAC, saying that “the Navy and the Marine Corps have taken previous rounds very seriously and have shed a lot of the duplication, a lot of the excess.”
Mabus added that the Navy is growing in terms of ships and sailors, and that the Pentagon’s new defense strategy emphasizes the Navy and Marine Corps. “So I think that as we look at BRAC, you have to take all of those elements into account,” he said.
Finally, Smith had more luck with Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. After Greenert mentioned that the Navy would be rebalancing to the Pacific, shifting more of its fleet from the East Coast to the West Coast, Smith asked: “That’s a matter of moving ships for the most part. It’s not a matter of shutting down a base or you know, it’s just moving them around. Is that fair?”
Greenert agreed, stating, “And with that will come the supporting infrastructure. But as you said, are these major, no they’re subtle. Over time, 10 years, it can appear major to some. We move an amphibious ready group to Mayport, it’s a pretty big change to Mayport, as an example. We put P-8s in the Pacific Northwest in the Whidbey Island with Growler Squadrons; in the sum total it can be very big.”