The Department of Defense will not continue its efforts to press Congress to authorize a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round for 2013, according to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Acknowledging strong congressional resistance to another BRAC, Panetta told a conference sponsored by the Association of Defense Communities in Monterey, California. “now is not the time for a BRAC round”
President Obama and DOD have been pressing Congress to authorize a 2013 BRAC round even though the FY2013 DOD budget request did not include funding for another BRAC. Congress has not been moved by DOD’s arguments and in fact has firmly opposed another round. The current House and Senate versions of the FY2013 Defense Authorization bill do not authorize funding for a 2013 BRAC round.
Panetta, who has been through BRAC negotiations as a 16-year congressman from representing the Monterey area, as White House Chief of Staff, and now as DoD Secretary said he understands how difficult it is to get congressional consensus on a BRAC round. “I know the politics involved with BRAC,” he said.
So, at least for this year, DoD will forego its efforts to get Congress to approve another BRAC round. “Now is not the time for a BRAC round, particularly when our economy is struggling to recover, Panetta said” But, this does not mean that BRAC is dead. The need to consider another BRAC in the future “will not go away,” he contended. DoD still needs to “take a hard look at what we do in terms of support infrastructure as we seek to reduce overhead costs.”