With or without BRAC, DoD’s footprint is shrinking

Editor’s Note: This story is part of Federal News Radio’s special report, A New Vision for Federal Buildings.

In each of the past four years, the Pentagon has proposed a new round of base closures and Congress has rejected every one so far. But with or without lawmakers’ approval, the military’s footprint is shrinking. The Defense Department has hinted that it may move to close some bases even without Congress’ explicit permission.

In its last two budget submissions, DoD has accompanied its request for another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round with a warning that if Congress doesn’t approve one, the administration will be forced to seek “alternative options” to trim the military’s excess infrastructure, currently estimated at more than 20 percent.

DoD does indeed have options outside of BRAC. While officials emphasized that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has not yet decided on whether he’ll exercise them, existing law provides for one-by-one base closure processes the department could implement unilaterally, as long as Congress is given fair warning.

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