Begich Leads Effort to Send Tough Message to Pentagon on Domestic Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Request
No domestic BRAC until comprehensive overseas BRAC
Responding to concerns from Fairbanks residents and determined to prevent wasteful spending, U.S. Senator Mark Begich introduced a resolution today stating the Senate will not support the requested 2015 and 2017 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds at this time. The resolution sends a clear message to the Department of Defense about the Senate’s opposition to BRAC and the expectation that the Pentagon will reduce costs and achieve efficiencies overseas.
“When I visited Fairbanks last week potential BRAC losses at the Interior’s military installations was the number one concern on people’s minds,” said Begich. “This resolution sends a clear message to the DOD that their request for 2015 and 2017 domestic BRAC is neither affordable nor feasible at this time. DOD needs to further consolidate overseas infrastructure and bring home missions before they even consider another request for domestic BRAC authority. Alaska is strategically positioned to accommodate those missions from overseas yet still allow the Pentagon to rapidly deploy our troops.”
Senator Begich was joined by Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Max Baucus (D-MT) who are co-sponsors of the resolution.
The resolution concludes that the Senate does not support granting the DOD authority for the requested 2015 and 2017 Base Realignment and Closure rounds; expects the Department of Defense to first achieve economic efficiencies by closing and consolidating excess infrastructure and facilities in overseas locations and explore the feasibility of relocating missions and assets back to the United States; and concludes the Department of Defense is unwise to request a BRAC round when our nation’s economy is struggling to recover and communities are struggling to put people back to work.
“It’s common-sense to close unneeded military bases overseas,” Tester said. “Decisions about our overseas military bases haven’t kept pace with our national security priorities, today’s technology or our budget realities, and that’s why the Defense Department should reassess the amount we are spending on overseas basing.”
“Everyone knows we’ve got to tighten the belt on spending wherever we can. But it’s just plain common sense that before we think about closing military bases here at home – and jeopardizing jobs that depend on them – we need to take a closer look at operations overseas,” Baucus said.
“Congress rejected the BRAC requests in 2013 and will continue to reject that request in 2015 and 2017 until DOD better evaluates potential closures and realignments abroad,” said Begich. “The DOD has 666 military sites in foreign countries around the world. Overseas bases are the most expensive to operate—we should be looking for consolidation outside the United States and relocation of missions back to the states before we consider closures and realignments in the United States."