A new Pentagon appointee is vowing to push for reform within the Department of Defense that reduces long-term costs and closes excess infrastructure.
During his July 18 nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee to become the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations, and environment, Lucian Niemeyer expressed strong support for congressional authorization for a new round of base realignment and closure (BRAC).
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted in favor of Niemeyer’s nomination on July 27. If confirmed by the full Senate, he would benefit the Pentagon as someone that fully grasps the importance of BRAC.
While answering questions from senators, Niemeyer showed that he will be a strong advocate for a new round of BRAC.
The Department of Defense has very limited authority to close unneeded infrastructure. Congressional authorization is required for a new round that would allow the Pentagon to consolidate infrastructure that it no longer needs.
Niemeyer stated in written testimony that another round of base realignment and closures is an “objective way to improve our force across all components, while freeing up resources over the long term for higher military priorities.”
Furthermore, he noted that congressional authorization would allow “ideal base utilization, greater military effectiveness, and economic growth for defense communities around the country suffering from years of uncertainty.”
However, many members of Congress have opposed the authorization for another round of BRAC, citing cost overruns and the high cost of the 2005 round.
Niemeyer acknowledged the concerns from critics and stated that future BRAC should be “focused on operational efficiency so that the resulting savings can be used for other warfighting needs.”
Members of Congress have argued that the Pentagon’s unused capacity should be used to expand the armed forces.
Niemeyer responded to that point by noting that any BRAC decisions…