Newly appointed Assistant Defense Secretary for Energy, Installations, and Environment Lucian Niemeyer, said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has given him directions on moving forward the politically unpopular issue of base closings to Congress.
The Pentagon estimates that the military has about 22 percent excess capacity at installations, but agreement in Congress ends when a facility is deemed excess is in their state. The disagreements nearly derailed the last round of base closings in 2005 (BRAC), and there is still debate as to whether the 2005 round generated savings.
The Pentagon is backing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act proposed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Arizona, and ranking committee member Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, that would set up another BRAC round in 2021.
Niemeyer stressed he does not have a hit list for base closings. “Until we get an authorization, there will be no analysis,” he said. “The notion that there is a list of base closures running around the Department of Defense is absolutely false.”