Saturday, August 13, 2022
HomedefenseBase closings 'hot potato' issue again as Pentagon insists new round could...

Base closings ‘hot potato’ issue again as Pentagon insists new round could save tens of billions

  • Pentagon insists there's "significant excess capacity" in the nation's military infrastructure and wants Congress to take action to generate savings.
  • The House has rejected an attempt to allow a new round of base closings or any consolidation of facilities but a draft proposal in the Senate would give it another chance.
  • Pentagon estimates an additional round of base closings could save about $2 billion annually, or $20 billion over 10 years.

A file photo of US Marine Corps during the US-JAPAN military exercise outside the USMC base in Pendleton, California.Joe Klamar | AFP | Getty Images

An effort by the Trump administration to get a new round of military base closures faces an uphill battle after the House rejected it last week.

But behind the scenes, there's an effort by two key members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that would still allow for base closures.

"This is one the few political third-rail items because lawmakers are essentially voting for a process that would allow bases and installations to potentially in their districts and states to be closed or downsized," said Roman Schweizer, a defense analyst at Cowen.

No doubt, base closings are a politically unpopular idea for members of Congress, with some analysts likening it to a "hot potato" because of the general uneasiness of lawmakers to support something could result in job losses and economic hardship back home.

"We cannot afford for parochial interests to get in the way of what is the best interests of our troops," Rep. Adam Smith, Democrat of Washington, said in comments last week in support of the study of new base closures.

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