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Cite higher costs from previous BRAC round and unresolved issues related to overseas force picture and size of armed forces

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today reiterated their opposition to a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, noting that costs from the 2005 BRAC round were far greater than initially projected.  During today’s Armed Services Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee hearing, Senators Shaheen and Ayotte referenced a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealing that the most recent BRAC process, which occurred in 2005, cost 67 percent more than initially estimated.  

In response to the Senators’ questioning, Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, acknowledged that the costs of the 2005 BRAC round were much higher than initially estimated.  The Senators requested additional cost data from the Defense Department regarding previous BRAC rounds. 

 “Given the Defense Department’s ongoing restructuring efforts and unclear results from the most recent BRAC round, we clearly need a lot more information before we make any decisions,” Shaheen said after the hearing. “We don’t know the costs and we don’t know the savings, so I don’t know how we could carry out this process effectively at this time.”

“Having just completed the 2005 BRAC round, this is the wrong time for Congress to authorize additional BRAC rounds. The 2005 base closure process actually cost taxpayers $35 billion, $14 billion more than projected – a massive 67% cost increase – and we aren’t going to see any savings from the 2005 round until around 2018,” said Senator Ayotte, Ranking Member of the subcommittee.  “I don’t believe we can justify spending tens of billions of dollars within the Pentagon’s tight budget in the short-term to fund more BRAC rounds for returns that may take decades to materialize – especially when details regarding defense sequestration, overseas force posture, and the size of our forces are unknown.”

During October 2011 testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “I went through the BRAC process and I know that all the dollars that people looked…for, you know, huge savings in BRAC, and yet they didn't take into consideration the cleanup, they didn't take into consideration all the work that had to be done, they didn't take into consideration all of the needs that had to be addressed, and in many cases, it wound up costing a lot more.”