Administration to request new round of base closures

Defense secretary says there’s ‘no more effective process’ than BRAC, despite failings.

The Obama administration will ask Congress to reauthorize the Base Closure and Realignment Commission to make new recommendations for shutting down military facilities nationwide “as soon as possible,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday.

The Pentagon is still in the process of implementing some proposals from BRAC, last convened in 2005 to issue recommendations that were later approved by an up-or-down vote in Congress.

Asked whether a new BRAC would really achieve savings, Panetta said, “I’ve seen the BRAC process and I know its weaknesses and failings, but there’s no more effective process.” He said his team declined to estimate a dollar figure on savings to avoid getting out ahead of Congress.

“This process will impact all 50 states and districts across America,” Panetta said. “It will be a test of whether reducing the deficit is about talk or action.”