by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The election of a businessman with a focus on cutting waste to the White House. Growing concern in Congress that military readiness has reached critically low levels. And the military pleading once again to be able to get rid of some of its excess infrastructure.
Combined, these three factors point to 2017 being the first year in many in which base realignment and closures could actually happen, after several years of BRAC being one of those automatic, dead-on-arrival propositions. That’s because they equate to lost jobs back home for savings that take years to realize.
And analysts warned that while they’re more optimistic this year than in the past that closures could occur, it’s far from a done deal and could be derailed by political fighting or a lack of commitment to the cause from President Trump.
The Pentagon released a report in March that said the Defense Department has 22 percent excess infrastructure. It asked in its fiscal 2017 budget request for $4 million to begin the planning for another round of BRAC in 2019, which Congress denied. This month, top officers reignited the plea before the House Armed Services Committee, and key lawmakers have brought the issue of base closures back into the spotlight.