Pentagon & Congress

Compromise Defense authorization bill rejects 2017 BRAC round

The latest National Defense Authorization Act legislation unveiled Dec. 2 rejects the Defense Department's request for a round of base closures in 2017.

The 2015 NDAA, introduced by the chairman and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, was a compromise based upon versions of the bill that passed the House and the Senate Armed Services committee in May.

But both bills contained a rejection of a base realignment and closure (BRAC) round in 2017, something the administration and the Defense Department has been pushing for.

In 2004, DoD estimated it had about 25 percent excess infrastructure. The 2005 base realignment and closure process cut roughly 3 percent of that. The department saves more than $12 billion a year from the five base realignment and closure rounds announced between 1988 and 2005 and is hoping to save more in a future consolidation, according to the department.

But the legislation also dropped a House bill provision that asked the Defense Department to report on its long-range force structure plans and conduct a comprehensive inventory of its facilities and infrastructure.

The reports would have been used to identify surplus properties and would have asked the Defense Secretary to certify whether there is any need for a round of base closures and affirm that DoD would save money by closing them.

An explanation of the NDAA provided by the lawmakers also called previous savings estimates of earlier BRAC rounds "outdated" and said the Defense Department already has enough tools to reduce its infrastructure spending.

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