Senator to DoD: Explore alternatives before launching BRAC

Senator to DoD: Explore alternatives before launching BRAC

The Pentagon should consider other ways of shedding unnecessary infrastructure without resorting to the formal Base Realignment and Closure process, one senator told defense officials Wednesday.

At a hearing Wednesday on the Defense Department’s request for another BRAC round, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee made clear they are not keen to reprise that potentially rancorous process for a variety of reasons, including the considerable up-front costs required.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said he understands the need to periodically assess base infrastructure, but added: “I’ve had questions about the BRAC process, whether it’s the best way to do that. We’ve all expressed our concerns about BRAC, but we also understand that excess capacity has costs, and if you have to pay for those costs, it has to come from something else.”

Kaine said he is not aware of any law that prevents DoD from doing its own study, apart from BRAC, about what portions of a particular installation’s infrastructure is no longer needed, and then making recommendations to get rid of that infrastructure without necessarily closing down the entire base.

“We have faith that you’d use the right analytical tools separate and apart from BRAC,” he said. “Obviously we have to save on infrastructure. It’s just, what is the best way to save on infrastructure?”

The last BRAC round was in 2005; defense officials are seeking another round for fiscal 2017.

Kaine was not the only senator to express deep reservations.

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