Senator's opposition kills BRAC request

Thursday - 3/22/2012, 11:47am EDT

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) put the kibosh on a new round of potential base closures military leaders said they wanted.

As chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Committee panel that oversees military installations, McCaskill told Pentagon officials Wednesday that she was not swayed by arguments in support of a new round of base closures. DoD requested a new round of closures as a way to reduce spending in its budget.

In a press release, McCaskill questioned how much money the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) effort actually saved. She encouraged the Pentagon to look at how much money could be save by closing some of the 1,000 or so military installations overseas before asking to close domestic bases.

"I will not support the request for a BRAC process to be carried out in 2013," McCaskill said in the release. "Government auditors have not yet completed a final analysis of the recently completed 2005 BRAC round. Congress needs a more complete understanding of our planned force structure, including our overseas force posture, before we even consider a new round of BRAC."

A typical base closure model produces "significant upfront costs," which McCaskill said could be potentially crippling during tight budget times.

McCaskill also questioned the possible negative impact closing bases could have on local economies, pointing to facilities like Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base in her state.

"I will not support a process that is callous or casual, or one that is rushed before we fully comprehend whether the traumatic task is clearly in the best interests of the American taxpayer and our national security," she said. "The Department has a very long way to go before it proves to me that these initial criteria have been met."

By not supporting DoD's new BRAC request, McCaskill effectively killed the measure for this year.