The Defense Department needs a stronger partnership with Congress if it wants to achieve critical priorities like another round of base closures, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
He spoke at the Washington Ideas Forum Oct. 29, and said the Defense Department won’t be able to close the bases it needs to or discontinue ship or plane programs without a strong relationship with Congress, according to a DoD transcript.
“We’ve got to have the partnership strong enough so that both sides can get to some conclusion and make a decision on how we go forward,” Hagel said.
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.
The Defense Department pushed for a proposed round of base closures for 2017 earlier this year but met with stiff resistance in Congress.
He said he has tried reaching out and building those partnerships but he hopes eventually the problem will correct itself and become less of an issue as time goes on.