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Defense Workers Union Objects to More Base Closures

AFGE: Costly new BRAC round would disrupt military readiness, harm communities

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 300,000 civilian employees in the Department of Defense, is urging lawmakers to reject efforts to launch a new round of military base closures.

An amendment to the Senate’s version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would require the Pentagon to develop a list of military base closures that would be presented to Congress for action. The amendment, from Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, would in effect launch another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.

“In this age of military uncertainty, it is not the time to authorize a new BRAC round,” AFGE Legislative Affairs Director Thomas Kahn said in a Sept. 11 letter to members of the Senate. “A precipitous BRAC action at this time would have serious consequences and the toll on military readiness is not worth the risk.”

A new round of BRAC would incur significant upfront costs, at a time when DoD and other federal agencies have been forced to cut spending under the 2011 Budget Control Act. Much of the promised savings from previous base closures never came to pass.

“Previous BRAC rounds have not always resulted in the initially projected longer-term savings. To the extent that savings were realized, the impact frequently occurred much later than anticipated and the amount was lower than promised when bases were closed,” Kahn wrote.

The House rejected efforts to include a BRAC in its version of the NDAA, which passed overwhelmingly in July. AFGE is calling on members of the Senate to follow the House’s lead.

“Military bases are critical to our nation’s defense, to millions of military and civilian employees who work at defense bases, and to local communities that depend on bases for their economic survival,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “We must not repeat the mistakes of the past, where the Base Realignment and Closure process increased our national debt in the short term and disrupted the lives of hardworking civilians and service members for promised savings that never materialized to the extent promised.”

Shaheen Highlights Opposition to Administration’s Base Realignment and Closure Proposal at Armed Services Subcommittee Hearing

Shaheen: White House BRAC Proposal Would Weaken National Security, New Hampshire Economy

(Washington, DC) – Citing the proposal’s potential impact on national security and New Hampshire’s economy, this morning U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reiterated her strong opposition to the White House’s request for a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in 2017.  While chairing the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support this morning, Shaheen also highlighted the Defense Department’s failure to explain the cost of the last BRAC round as another reason to avoid another round in 2017; according to nonpartisan experts, the 2005 BRAC round exceeded initial cost estimates by $14 billion.  The administration’s BRAC proposal could prove to be particularly consequential for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard which is home to thousands of New Hampshire jobs.

“Our national security, our shipyard, and our economy in New Hampshire would suffer if we had another round of base closures at this time,” said Shaheen after the hearing. “I’ll do everything in my power as Chair of the Readiness Subcommittee to oppose the Administration’s BRAC proposal.”

In written testimony submitted for the committee’s record, Shaheen also added, “I do not believe the Department has adequately explained how the significant cost growth we saw in the 2005 BRAC round would be avoided this time around or made sufficient progress in reducing infrastructure overseas, particularly in Europe.”

As Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Shaheen, along with the subcommittee’s ranking member Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), have jurisdiction over BRAC proposals in addition to military readiness responsibilities including training, logistics, military construction, and maintenance.

At Armed Services Hearing Shea-Porter Reiterates Opposition to Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC)

Submarine enroute to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Submarine enroute to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

 

WASHINGTON, DC –During a House Armed Services Committee hearing this afternoon on the Navy’s FY 2015 budget request, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) spoke directly to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus about her opposition to additional rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

“I have the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in my district, and you know how famous they are for the great work they do…their record is absolutely wonderful,” Shea-Porter said. “My question is very simple. In considering a future BRAC, is the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in that equation at all? I believe their work is essential, and my question is, do you and does the Navy?”

Mabus noted that all of America’s Naval Shipyards, including Portsmouth do “incredibly good work.” He also noted that because the Navy has not been authorized to do a BRAC, he could not comment on how a potential BRAC evaluation would look.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter continues to believe that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is essential to our nation’s security.

“When you see the work that they’re doing and recognize how essential it is for national security, I hope that will get a full measure of consideration,” Shea-Porter added.

As a member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Shea-Porter helped pass a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act explicitly prohibiting additional rounds of BRAC. The legislation stated “nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, and none of the funds appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations contained in this Act may be used to propose, plan for, or execute an additional BRAC round.” That language is now federal law.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of four public shipyards in the United States, and it’s the only public Shipyard on the East Coast.

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