In what is becoming a virtually annual event, the House Armed Services Committee has once again blocked a proposal in the 2016 military spending bill to begin preparing for a round of base closures in 2017.
The Pentagon has argued for years that multiple bases inside the United States are completely unnecessary, but the concern about losing a lucrative base in their own district has kept much of Congress averse to any talk of closures. The last such closures were in 2005.
The Armed Services Committee, interestingly enough, allowed language to remain in the bill calling for the Pentagon to assess its “excess capacity,” but is not letting them address it where it clearly already exists.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) argued that the 2005 closures ended up costing more than the Pentagon projected, and that they didn’t start to “break even” on a budget basis for years.
The alternative, it seems, is to simply leave huge, unnecessary bases funded and manned with a skeleton crew, basically forever, to avoid the politically unpopular choice of closing them and the equally unpopular questions to Pentagon brass about how to mothball such facilities in a cost effective way.
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