Rumsfeld warns Congress against modernizing bases that will be closed

In an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld complained about Congress' two-year delay of another base closure round and warned the lawmakers against trying to protect bases by adding improvement funds.

The delay in establishing another base realignment and closure commission, from this year--as the administration requested--to 2005, "means that the department will have to continue supporting between 20-25 percent more infrastructure than is needed to support the force," Rumsfeld said.

The secretary noted that the department had to put off investments in base infrastructure, because "it would have been a waste of the taxpayers' money to invest significant funds in modernizing bases that could eventually be closed." The proposed budget cuts military construction funding from $6.6 billion in the current year to $4.8 billion.

Committee members were mostly supportive of Bush's defense budget, with the main complaint that it did not provide enough shipbuilding funds.

Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and John Warner, R-Va., among others, expressed concern that the five new ships funded in the fiscal 2003 budget were only half the number the Navy needed to keep the fleet above the 300 ship level considered necessary to meet needs.

Rumsfeld told the senators he shared their concerns, but said the Navy made the decision to put more money into other accounts, particularly operations and maintenance, because the average age of the fleet still is relatively young.

Perhaps the strongest objection to the size of the $396 billion budget came from Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose prepared remarks said the services needed $100 billion to $110 billion a year for weapons procurement, compared to the $69 billion in the budget.

Little concern was voiced over Rumsfeld's request for a $10 billion "contingency fund" to cover likely expenses in the war against terrorism. Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked if the money could be used to start offensive actions against the three nations President Bush had cited as the "axis of evil"--Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

Rumsfeld said the money would not be spent if U.S. forces were not engaged in conflict and added, "I don't think there is anything in the budget that contemplates anything of the size you suggest."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.