Shuster questions proposed military installation closures, consolidations in fiscal year 2019

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) cited concerns on Friday about the Department of Defense’s (DoD) request for funding to support closures and consolidations of military installations.

In his fiscal year 2017 proposed budget, President Barack Obama requested $4 million for Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) set to begin in fiscal year 2019, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently voiced support for a new round of BRAC in fiscal year 2019 during a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

In a letter to Carter, Shuster called for a full assessment of projected cost savings for 2019 closures and consolidations, as well as justification for how new BRAC efforts would achieve cost savings that a previous one had failed to.

“The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure is estimated to have cost over $35 billion to implement, and ultimately came in far beyond initial time and cost estimates,” Shuster wrote. “Indeed, the upfront costs are not estimated to be paid off until 2018, over a decade after this last round of base closings was implemented. There has been no indication from the department that ensures another BRAC will be any different.”

The proposed fiscal year 2019 BRAC could impact the Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, PA, which is among the largest employers in Shuster’s congressional district.

“The only thing stopping a BRAC right now is the prohibition put in place by the House Armed Services Committee, which I have the honor of serving on,” Shuster wrote. “The men and women at Letterkenny provide a valuable service to our nation’s security and any attempt to shutter the depot would not only have a severe impact on our local economy but would also hinder the readiness of our armed forces. I have and will continue to do everything I can to stop shortsighted cuts to our military or Letterkenny.”

Shuster also requested an explanation for how closing and consolidating military installations would align with projected global threats in the decade after 2019.

“Given the dangerous situation the United States faces, we must not make shortsighted and difficult to reverse decisions about our military infrastructure,” Shuster said. 

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