The Pentagon is renewing its controversial push to close some military bases, and a new study suggests the Army could be impacted the most significantly.
The Defense Department on Friday sent a new report to Congress Capitol Hill that concludes the military's current network of military installations has about 22 percent more space than is actually needed. It The new study – the first of its kind in 12 years – found that the Army has the most excess capacity at 33 percent excess capacity, . The report said the Air Force has 32 percent more space than it needs excess capacity and the Navy is over by has 7 percent.
The Defense Logistics Agency’s space is has 12 percent excess, more than it needs, according to a copy of the 20-page report, the first of its kind in 12 years. Military Times obtained a copy of the document on Friday.
"This level of excess underscores the need for a BRAC round because it is clear that the Department has more infrastructure than force structure plans require," it states, referencing the acronym used for Base Closure and Realignment Commission according to the 20-page report obtained Friday by Military Times.
The aim of the report aims to Congress is to "advance the dialogue" on the Defense Department’s long-standing request for a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the mechanism that Capitol Hill uses to identify which military bases to shutter, according to an accompanying letter from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work that accompanied the report.
The new study is based on projected the force levels that the Pentagon projects the services to have in 2019.
Implementing a new BRAC would eventually save the Defense Department about $2 billion annually, according to the report, which. The report does not identify specific facilities eyed any particular bases for closure.
Instead, it looks at the services' aggregate needs by comparing the Army's maneuver brigades to total training space, the size of the Navy's fleet to pier space, and the Air Force's total aircraft inventory to hangar and flight line space.
The last such officials study in 2004 found an overall excess capacity of 24 percent, suggesting that the 2005 BRAC that called for closing 22 major military bases and shrinking 33 others had limited long-term impact.
Congress has convened base closure commissions five times in recent years, in 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 2005. Typically BRACs aim to reduce total capacity by about 5 percent.
For years the Pentagon has urged Congress to close bases to save money. The size of the active-duty military has decreased by nearly half since the end of the Cold War and many facilities across the country are underused, unnecessary and require maintenance that is draining the military budget.
Yet eliminating military bases — and their well-paying government jobs — is intensely controversial on Capitol Hill because individual lawmakers fight to ensure their own local base is not affected.