Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Legislation introduced today by Sen. John Thune, R-SD, would delay the current Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. The legislation 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.

“It doesn’t make sense to close bases now,” Thune said. “Given the permanence of base closings, the Pentagon should take the time to review the recommendations of the QDR and other reports first. We need to slow down the process and fully understand the military’s long-term needs. Furthermore, we should not be undertaking massive BRAC realignments and closures while we are engaged in a war. This bill will correct what I believe to be a grave error by the Pentagon.”

A bipartisan group of senators is co-sponsoring the legislation, including Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Trent Lott (R-MS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Ted Stevens (R-AK) and John Sununu (R-NH).

“Senators from Maine to Alaska are standing united against the Pentagon’s premature plans to close military bases,” Thune said. “The Pentagon’s recommendations got a very cold reception in Congress. It’s common sense to wait for the Overseas BRAC and QDR before we move forward.”

The Quadrennial Defense Review Report is due to be released early next year. The QDR is a comprehensive examination of America’s future defense needs, including potential threats, force structure, strategy, defense infrastructure, and other elements of the defense program. The Commission on Review of Overseas Military Facility Structure of the United States (“Overseas BRAC” or “Overseas Basing Commission”) was established in 2003 to provide Congress and the President with a thorough study and review of U.S. military structure and facilities overseas. The Commission publicly released its report earlier last week, but no action has been taken.

The legislation would also stop the BRAC from moving forward until the implementation and development by the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security of the National Maritime Security Strategy and the completion and implementation of the Secretary of Defense’s Homeland Defense and Civil Support Directive – only now being drafted. These two planning strategies should be key considerations before beginning any BRAC process.