A subcommittee in the House of Representatives has voted to prohibit the Defense Department from closing domestic U.S. military bases and installations.
“Strategy not budget should drive national security decisions and I won’t support a reduction in our infrastructure until I’m confident our nation’s readiness and our military won’t suffer,” Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA) said.
“The Pentagon next year plans to spend a total of $606 billion,” reports Brendan McGarry at DoD Buzz. “That figure includes a base budget of $526.6 billion and $79.4 billion for the war in Afghanistan, according to figures the department disclosed on May 20. It doesn’t include the next round of automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, which may total as much as $51 billion.”
The discussion of base closures comes out of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, which has gone through several such efforts in the past.
The country maintains an enormous standing army. Only two of the 50 states – Rhode Island and New Hampshire – have no Army bases.
The House committee blocked the funding required to close the bases despite recommendations to do so from the Pentagon.
If Congress doesn’t authorize closing the bases, the Army “will be forced to retain installation infrastructure that will become excess to its requirements and thereby jeopardize spending on forces, training and modernization,” said Pentagon spokesman Dave Foster in April of 2012.