Obama Budget Pays for Military Base Closures

Copies of the budget were distributed to Senate staff Wednesday morning. Copies of the budget were distributed to Senate staff Wednesday morning. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal includes $2.4 billion to plan for military base closures and consolidations.

In the budget document released on Wednesday, the Defense Department said money allocated for a new round of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission “across the five years of this Future Years Defense plan” would save taxpayers “substantial sums.”

A separate document released by Defense said that the department had isolated $34 billion in savings but that it needed another BRAC to “permit infrastructure consolidation.”

“The actual closing of any bases would involve a multiyear process that would not start until 2016, after the economy is projected to have more fully recovered,” the document said.

Defense Comptroller Robert Hale said during a press briefing Wednesday that the proposed BRAC round would be “patterned” on the 1993 and 1995 rounds undertaken immediately following the end of the Cold War. The last round occurred in 2005.

Even then, the idea of another BRAC is likely to hit steep opposition in Congress. Lawmakers rejected adding funding for a BRAC round in the fiscal 2013 spending measure recently signed into law by President Obama.

The 2005 BRAC round exceeded many of its original cost estimates, according to a Government Accountability Office report released in March. By 2011, implementation costs had exceeded the 2005 estimate by 67 percent. 

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