Recent Press Releases

Momentum builds for delaying BRAC

More co-sponsors, military associations endorse Thune bill

May 26, 2005

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune said his bill to delay the current BRAC round is gaining momentum at a press conference today with a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives and three military associations.

“There is momentum behind this legislation. We have broad bipartisan representation on the bill,” Thune said. “My view is we shouldn’t be closing a single domestic base while America is at war and the completion of the overseas BRAC and QDR are not final. Rushing this process could have grave consequences for America’s force structure as we move into the future.”

Representatives from the National Guard Association of the United States, Adjutants General Association of the United States, and Enlisted Association of the National Guard Association of the United States endorsed Thune’s legislation.

“I’m here today representing the 54 Adjutant Generals of the National Guard of the United States. We strongly endorse the legislation offered by Senator Thune and Congresswoman Herseth which would delay the BRAC process,” said Maj. Gen. Francis D. Vavala, adjutant general of Delaware, representing the Adjutants General Association of the United States. “We do this as a body to underscore flaws in the recommended decisions fueled by the exclusion of key information pertaining to the Air National Guard. It’s vitally important that those affected and those with institutional knowledge be made part of an undertaking as profound as BRAC. The BRAC recommendations are flawed and do not reflect what is best for a nation at war.”

Thune’s legislation now has 17 co-sponsors, including Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg, Joe Lieberman, Christopher Dodd, and Tim Johnson and Republican Senators Trent Lott and Olympia Snowe. The legislation introduced last week would delay the process until most troops return from Iraq, a complete analysis is conducted on overseas facility requirements and several pending reports are released and their impact on BRAC is determined, including two Homeland Security related reports and the Pentagon’s long-term planning document, the Quadrennial Defense Review. The bipartisan bill would, in effect, nullify the base closings recommended by the Pentagon on May 13

Senator Thune today also introduced legislation with Senator Johnson to allow uniformed members of the Armed Forces to testify before the BRAC commission. The Thune-Johnson bill has 9 co-sponsors. Thune said it was vital for the BRAC commission members to hear first-hand the value of bases like Ellsworth.

“When BRAC members visit Ellsworth, they need to hear from the men and women who live on the base,” Thune said. “The Pentagon should not stop men and women in uniform from testifying on behalf of their home bases. These are the men and women that will be most directly impacted by any BRAC decisions and they must be involved in the process.”