Thursday, January 26, 2012

New BRAC Round

The President will ask Congress to authorize a new BRAC round, said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during a Pentagon news briefing today held to preview DOD's fiscal 2013 budget request.

"We simply cannot sustain infrastructure beyond our needs,"  Panetta said in explaining the need for a new base closure round.

The announcement confirms speculation that has been swirling around Washington since it became clear that DOD would need to find almost $500 billion in spending cuts, and possibly a total of $1 trillion, over the next decade to comply with last August's agreement to raise the nation's debt limit.

Once DOD asks Congress to authorize a new round, it will be up to lawmakers to approve the request. Lawmakers most likely would take the matter up as part of deliberations over the FY 2013 defense authorization bill. As a result, Congress' intentions may not be clear until late in the year.

“I have been a strong supporter of BRACs in the past. But I’m not able to support BRAC domestically until we reduce bases in particular in Europe,” Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said, according to CQ Today.

Separately, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, questioned the need to close bases, following the bitterness associated with previous BRAC rounds.

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