Base closings ‘hot potato’ issue again as Pentagon insists new round could save tens of billions

Money savings from a new round of BRAC would be enough to buy 22 F-18 Hornet fighter jets or four Virginia-class submarines, according to McClintock. It also could buy another large batch of F-35 stealth fighters.

“BRAC reduces fixed costs they would have with infrastructure,” said Frederico Bartels, policy analyst for defense budgeting at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank. “That is the only way at getting at those fixed costs because there are a long of congressional limitations placed on what DoD can do with its physical infrastructure.”

Heritage Foundation supports a new round of BRAC to “right-size” the DOD infrastructure, saying it would allow the Pentagon to do “a rigorous and transparent review of its current and future infrastructure needs, including closing bases and facilities as appropriate.” Even so, the conservative think tank also believes “some excess infrastructure may be worth keeping, as a hedge against future needs.”

Some of the opposition for another round of base closures comes from lawmakers who say the costs of consolidation are too high and that local communities depend on these bases for their livelihood.

Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight, said the federal government usually helps communities adjust to base closures. She also said a U.S. Government Accountability Office study found that communities closed under the last BRAC round in 2005 actually did better under the Great Recession than average communities across the country.

“There are ways to have soft landings,” said Smithberger.

However, there are others who suggest…

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