McCaskill Says Pentagon Dropping More US Military Base Closings
August 7, 2012


Missouri’s member of the Senate Armed Services Committee says the Pentagon has abandoned discussions that were making some Missouri military officials and the communities near their bases a little nervous.
Senator McCaskill says defense secretary Leon Panetta has dropped any thoughts of a new commission on base realignment and closure. McCaskill, says the military readiness subcommittee she heads would not allow any recommended changes to come out of her subcommittee until the Pentagon comes up with a plan for the thousand-plus bases this country maintains overseas.
She says the Pentagon has not even properly assessed whether the most recent round of closings and realignments based on a 2005 study saved any money.
McCaskill says the Pentagon needs to make sure our foreign bases, especially those cold war bases in Europe, are still worth their cost.
She says Missouri’s major bases are in good enough shape to resist BRAC changes. But she says some smaller installations such as Rosecrans Field in St. Joseph and Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis could have been affected.

McCaskill Opposes Another Round of Base Closings
May 27, 2012

Missouri News Horizon:
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said last week she will continue to fight the Pentagon in its attempt to cut back on domestic military bases.
Speaking with reporters, McCaskill said she is opposed to expanding the Defense Department’s Base Closure and Realignment Commission until the organization finishes the report it started in 2005.
“We must wait until we get a full accounting and reporting from the previous BRAC closures, so we can figure out why it cost so much more and the savings are so much less,” McCaskill said. “I think it is really important we get a handle on it.”
McCaskill’s comments come as the Senate is beginning its yearly debate on the National Defense Authorization Act. Congressional hearings discussing much of the bill are typically done behind closed doors. But McCaskill, who chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Readiness, held debate over her portion of the legislation in public for the second year in a row.
The legislation out of McCaskill’s committee includes provisions that would expand whistleblower protections for employees of government contractors, and, along with Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, reform wartime contracting.

April 5, 2012

Missourinet via johncombest:
A great little blog piece by the Misosurinet’s all-star Bob Priddy. It deals with Rep. Vicky Hartzlers plan to have a private meeting about potential military base closesures in the state.
“UPDATE: 9:30 A.M., March 4 — A call to the Missourinet newsroom moments ago from Congresswoman Hartzler’s spokesman told our Jessica Machetta the decision had been made to hold this meeting as an open meeting after all. No explanation was given because there was no time to give it. As this update is written, Jessica is hurrying to the capitol to listen, we hope, to the stakeholders speak forthrightly.
The material below was posted about three and a half hours before the call telling us the decision to close the meeting was changed.
Congresswoman Vicki Hartzler is holding a meeting with some politicians in Jefferson City today to talk about a suggested new round of Base Realignment and Closing studies. She had called it a “BRAC roundtable… to bring together stakeholders, including members of Congress, to share their ideas regarding a possible BRAC and how Missouri can strengthen its voice for national defense.” She and her office wanted to make sure we knew about the meeting, the time, the place, and so forth. But now we have been told that she has decided to close the meeting to the press (and we assume to the general public) because they were afraid the politicians taking part would “feel uncomfortable and not be as forthright in their opinions” if members of the press are there to report them. Apparently the general public is not a stakeholder after all. All the general public does is pay the taxes that finance our national defense. All the general public does is provide the men and women who ARE the national defense. Too bad, though, politicians taking part might feel uncomfortable if people were there who would tell the general public what is said.
Journalists have, and should have, a pretty short fuse when our political figures come up with that kind of nonsense to explain why they want to meet in secret. Speaking forthrightly in our opinion this is:

Akin, Hartzler, Luetkemeyer Line Up Against Closing Missouri Military Bases
April 4, 2012

(AP) – Three members of Missouri’s congressional delegation say programs at the state’s largest military bases are too important to cut or move elsewhere.

Federal defense officials have said base closures are needed to save money. But at Missouri’s Capitol on Tuesday, U.S. representatives Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer and Todd Akin, all Republicans, said Ft. Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base should be spared from possible cuts.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, has also said she would oppose base reductions.

Base cuts are handled by a military commission and Congress can vote on their recommendations.

During the last base reductions in 2005, an Air National Guard unit in St. Louis was closed and staff was cut at some military offices.

McCaskill Oposes Any More Military Base Closings
March 22, 2012


The Pentagon is requesting a new round of military base closings and realignments to cut spending, but Senator McCaskill says she won’t support the move, effectively killing the effort.
McCaskill is chairwoman of the Senate Subcommittee on Military Readiness. She tells defense leaders and fellow senators a new BRAC is not a cost-savings strategy.
“Last year, this subcommitee identified $1.7 billion in programs that could be eliminated or deferred in the military construction and environment construction accounts,” she says, calculating that it was about 10 percent of president’s budget request. “While I cannot promise we will find similar savings in this fiscal year, I do not believe there is anything the department is doing we cannot do better, and I do not believe there is any part of the budget that is off limits as we look for savings.”
She says she’ll be looking at every area of this subcommittee’s jurisdiction again this year “as we attempt to cut duplicative projects and programs, increase management efficiencies and reduce waste.”
McCaskill says the 2005 BRAC did not save the money it set out to, and she tells Pentagon officials that they had not made a convincing case that another round of base-closures would benefit taxpayers or national security.
She also says billions of dollars that could be saved by closing some of the 1,000 military installations overseas, many of which are relics of the Cold War. She points to a major expansion at West Point Academy and other construction projects she says can either hold or be scaled back.
“While I applaud the Department’s desire to find responsible places to achieve savings, there is one area where there is absolutely no room for compromise this year, and that is BRAC,” she tells the Department of Defense in the committee hearing. “I will not support the request for a BRAC process to be carried out in 2013. Government auditors have not yet completed a final analysis of the recently completed 2005 BRAC round. Congress needs to understand completely our planned force structure, including our overseas force posture, before we consider a new round of BRAC. The impact BRAC has on communities around the country, some in my homestate, is extraordinary. I will not support a process that is casual, or one that is rushed before we fully comprehend whether or not this task is clearly in the best interests of the American taxpayer and our national security. The Department has a long way to go before it proves to me that these initial criteria have been met.”
The Defense Department’s request for two new rounds of base realignments and closures should be compared to the cost effectiveness of the first four BRAC rounds, not those done in 2005 to transform installations to match force structure, a Pentagon official argues.
“The math is straightforward,” Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, told the subcommittee. ”BRAC is the single most effective thing the department has ever done in terms of producing greater efficiency and savings.”
Officials say the 2005 process had higher upfront costs and a slower return on savings than expected.
“The $11.2 billion DOD installations and environment budget request is down from $13 billion appropriated for the current year,” Defense officials say. “The budget request — which includes $4 billion for environmental work, mostly installation clean-up and pollution prevention, and $4 billion for installations’ energy use — does not reflect the BRAC proposal. The department receives about $4 billion in annual savings from the 2005 BRAC,” but acknowledged those realignments and closures won’t yield a net savings until 2018.