SHAHEEN QUESTIONS PENTAGON ON NEED FOR BRAC CLOSINGS

Calls BRAC recommendation premature

February 01, 2012

Washington, DC- In a briefing today on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) told senior Department of Defense and military officials that she had serious concerns about their recent request for another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, given the Defense Department’s ongoing restructuring efforts and unclear savings from the most recent BRAC round. 

Shaheen, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which will have jurisdiction over any BRAC legislation, spoke directly to Dr. Ashton Carter, the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Admiral James Winnefeld, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  

“Another BRAC round just doesn’t makes sense right now,” Shaheen said after the briefing. “We still don’t have details on how the Department plans to restructure and reduce our overseas forces in Europe. Until we have those answers, I don’t see how we can adequately evaluate what our basing needs are.

“Closing bases is not a simple process.  It costs billions of taxpayer dollars in the short term and has a dramatic impact on the surrounding communities.  We need to make sure we don’t try to rush through this process at a time of significant uncertainty and change.”

In response to the Department of Defense’s request for Congress to authorize closures under the BRAC process, Senator Shaheen joined U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in a joint statement last week criticizing the request and offering strong support for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  The last BRAC process occurred in 2005, when the Pentagon’s recommendation to close the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was ultimately overturned by the BRAC Commission.  Also last week, Shaheen met with workers at the shipyard to express her support for the critical role the Shipyard plays in our national security. 

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