A coalition of defense analysts from think tanks and interest groups is urging senators to support an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810 (115)) that would authorize a new round of military base realignments and closures.
In a letter, organized by Defense Priorities, the experts seek to rally support for an amendment expected to be offered this week on the Senate floor by Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and ranking Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island that would establish a new Base Realignment and Closure commission to review all installations in 2021.
Defense Priorities argues the proposal would improve the link between basing and strategy, improve cost controls and strengthen congressional oversight compared to previous BRAC rounds.
"The McCain-Reed amendment is carefully tailored to maximize the benefits for U.S. taxpayers and our military," the experts say in their letter.
They also cite the support for a new BRAC round offered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the new assistant secretary of Defense for energy, installations and the environment, Lucian Niemeyer, last week at the Heritage Foundation.
Among those signing the letter were analysts from the Project on Government Oversight, Heritage Action for America, Concerned Veterans for America, FreedomWorks, the Atlantic Council, National Taxpayers Union, the London Center for Policy Research, the Hoover Institution and Peace Action.
The task force expects to release recommendations early next year on how to prepare for a Base Realignment and Closure process, otherwise known as BRAC, said panel chairman and state Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek. “What I expect is for this committee to come up with a number of recommendations on what the state needs to do to be prepared,” the Air Force veteran said. “Even if a BRAC isn’t approved, the (Department of Defense) has it within (its) authority to do all kinds of mission changes. …. We can expect the (Department of Defense) to try and get as efficient as they can short of a BRAC.”
Two key unions are opposing an amendment to the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act in the Senate that would authorize a new round of military base realignments and closures.
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and ranking Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island are pushing an amendment to the NDAA H.R. 2810 (115) to authorize a new BRAC round. But in separate letters, the American Federation of Government Employees and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers blasted the BRAC process, specifically questioning predictions of savings that would result.
"In this age of military uncertainty, it is not the time to authorize a new BRAC round," the AFGE letter (attached) argued. "A new round of BRAC would incur significant upfront costs at a time of significant fiscal restraint under the Budget Control Act."
The IAMAW letter (attached) argued that, by capping implementation costs, McCain and Reed's BRAC proposal would leave "highly distressed communities and working families without the vital assistance needed to recover from a government imposed economic disaster."
The Pentagon has requested the authority to close and consolidate infrastructure, arguing the process could save upwards of $2 billion a year.
The Alabama Public Service Commission today approved Alabama Power Company proposals for solar electricity production at the Anniston Army Depot and Fort Rucker.
They are the first projects under a plan the PSC approved in September, authorizing Alabama Power to offer solar, wind and other renewable energy to customers through separate, negotiated arrangements
Alabama Power says there is growing demand for renewable energy driven by federal mandates and corporate goals.
Alabama Power spokesman Michael Sznajderman said the Anniston Army Depot and Fort Rucker projects will be the first major solar projects for the company's customers.