Pentagon Will Request a New BRAC Round in FY’16 Budget, Hagel Indicates

Defense Communities 360

November 17, 2014

During multiple stops this weekend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel underscored the need for a new BRAC round as one way for the Defense Department to mitigate the fiscal constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act spending caps.

“Despite numerous efforts and almost 10 years since the last round, DOD has been unable to secure another round of base realignment and closure. Today, DOD has 24 percent excess capacity in our basing and facilities — excess capacity that is costing us billions of dollars every year, money that could otherwise be invested in maintaining our military’s edge. We need Congress to help end this excess spending,” Hagel said at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, Calif., on Saturday.

And while the department has a pretty good idea of where it has excess capacity, a BRAC commission would offer an independent review of what facilities are no longer needed, he said on Sunday during a visit to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

“What we’re asking for, again, is for the Congress to authorize another base relocation closing commission to go in and take a hard look, an insightful, honest look, and evaluate where that excess capacity is. And I would hope the Congress will allow us to do that, and I would hope that they would support another round of BRAC,” Hagel told reporters.

He would not, however, directly respond to a request to identify specific installations — and whether any of those were in California — that have excess capacity.

In addressing the fiscal 2016 budget request the Obama administration plans to submit next year, Hagel stressed the urgency for lawmakers to relax the spending caps and agree to the reforms DOD has previously proposed to save money on weapons programs and military compensation.

“We will, once again, be presenting to Congress a budget that we hope will be a budget that they can agree to and they will eliminate sequestration to free us up in not only our ability and flexibility to make the decisions we need to make inside the department on reforming programs, platforms, processes, reforming all the various aspects of our enterprise,” he said during a troop event at Fort Irwin.