The wrong time to close bases
By Jim Inhofe, Monday, September 11, 2017
As Americans, we are facing a grave threat — one that goes beyond North Korea’s missile tests, Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and the rise of ISIS. Despite these dangerous and challenging national security threats, the readiness crisis is the most profound threat facing our nation today. Our armed forces are smaller than the days of the “hollow force” of the 1970s, and readiness, in the form of personnel, training and equipment, have been degraded to the breaking point. All the while, we have witnessed an uptick in training and operational accidents across the armed forces.
While the risks posed by the readiness crisis are significant, Congress is already taking steps to correct the shortfalls. This week, the Senate will consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation that will go a long way to closing the readiness gap. Every amendment considered for the NDAA this year should focus on increasing readiness across the services. We owe it to our troops and our nation — nothing less is acceptable.
That’s why it is disappointing — and dangerous — to consider an amendment that would authorize a base realignment and closure round, better known as BRAC. I, along with many of my colleagues, successfully ensured during the Senate Armed Services Committee’s consideration of the NDAA that it included a provision prohibiting a BRAC round. Unfortunately, an amendment is pending that would enable a new BRAC round in 2019 and, at the same time, remove the nonpartisan commission that allows both local defense communities and Congress input into the BRAC process.