Washington D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA), and five other original co-sponsors introduced the Military Infrastructure Consolidation Efficiency Act of 2016. The legislation would allow the Department of Defense to make targeted reductions to excess infrastructure capacity, while maintaining sufficient capacity to support contingencies and potential force structure growth in the future. Reducing excess infrastructure capacity will allow DOD to increase the efficiency of its operations and realize financial savings that could be reinvested into higher priorities that more effectively contribute to the nation’s security.
“We need to provide the Department of Defense flexibility to find savings and efficiencies wherever it can in order to support our warfighters,” said Ranking Member Smith. “That is especially true now, as Congress continues to strain the military by funding it through short-term budget agreements. We should not be making the military cut training and supplies while at the same time refusing to let DOD save money that we know is not being used productively. This bill would create a better version of the BRAC process, introducing reforms that address the complaints from the 2005 base closure round and allowing DOD to make these kinds of targeted, smart reductions.”
“This bill will help Congress overcome its fear of BRAC,” said Congressman Farr. “It reforms the BRAC process so it is more community-oriented, more efficient, and more about real cost savings. It also requires that the round be completed in five years rather than six, shortening the time that results will be achieved. But, for me, one of the most compelling reforms is that it creates criteria that value professional military education as importantly as any other military training. That has not been true in the past and will be a real game-changer for communities that host military education facilities.”
According to the Defense Department, approximately 22 percent of the Department’s infrastructure capacity is believed to be in excess of the military’s requirements based on projected force structure levels in fiscal year 2019. DOD officials have testified before Congress that a new round of base closures and realignment would likely seek to reduce excess infrastructure capacity by approximately 5 percent and could result in around $2 billion a year in annual recurring savings.
The Military Infrastructure Consolidation Efficiency Act would authorize a process for DOD to develop recommendations for consolidating, closing, and realigning military infrastructure. Those recommendations would be reviewed by an independent commission whose members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. If the President agrees with the independent commission’s final recommendations, Congress would then have the final word with an up-or-down vote. The bill also contains numerous improvements on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, introducing reforms that address complaints about the 2005 BRAC round by providing for increased Congressional oversight, an emphasis on recommendations that generate savings, better controls on cost growth, a stronger independent commission, and expedited completion of recommendations.
In addition to Ranking Member Smith and Congressman Farr, the bill is cosponsored by Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).###