Gates could delay 7 BRAC actions

Tuesday - 5/24/2011, 9:41am EDT

Andrea Morris, BRAC coordinator, Arlington County, Virginia

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The House takes up legislation this week that includes a provision to delay certain Base Realignment and Closure moves. The FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act would allow the Secretary of Defense to put off up to seven BRAC recommendations for one year.

Which seven would be entirely up to the Secretary of Defense, explained Dr. Andrea Morris, BRAC coordinator for Arlington County, Virginia. "They are not delineated specifically. He has to select them," she said.

On Fed Access with host Derrick Dortch, Morris said the moves wouldn't be completely stopped, simply put on hold. "It means that they would remain in their current location until certain requirements are met."

The Act provides for a delay of up to one year, or "a time period of after the FY '13 Authorization is completed, so it depends on what the timeline is, but up to a year to delay it and get the infrastructure in place around the space," said Morris.

While Morris says passage of the Act "certainly is a possibility," delaying the Mark Center move would take much more than just passing the bill.

The Secretary of Defense would have to provide five key pieces of information to Congress, said Morris:

  • Need - "Demonstrate why it's needed to be done."

  • Impact - "What will this delay, or lack of delay do to the actual installation and..."

  • Impact to the Community - "...then to the space around it - the community around it."

  • Cost Benefit Analysis - "The cost benefit analysis of it - if we do it, don't do it, what's going to happen."

  • Timeline - "And then also how are you going to get it done in this next year - a plan has to be put forward demonstrating and delineating that specifically."

According to Morris, the Government Accountability Office may have made selecting which moves to delay a bit easier by narrowing the field for the Secretary.

"The challenges that were raised in a GAO report of July of last year cited six locations that have a number of infrastructure developments that need to happen before the activity can really be fully completed, if you will. The buildings might be finished, but the infrastructure around it is not ready," said Morris.

Three of those sites are in the Washington, D.C. area: the Mark Center, Fort Belvoir, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.