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Congressman Tom MacArthur

Representing the 3rd District of New Jersey

MacArthur Opposes Potential BRAC Process in 2016

January 12, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tom MacArthur released the following statement regarding comments made by a Pentagon official indicating that a Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) process could be included in the President’s 2016 budget:

“Including another round of base closures in the Department of Defense’s budget would be a mistake, and I’d strongly urge Secretary Hagel to oppose their inclusion,” MacArthur said. “Not only would a BRAC process cost the taxpayers money, I worry it would negatively impact our military’s readiness and the overall strength of our national defense.”

“South Jersey can look back to 2005 when that year’s BRAC process threatened our district’s military bases McGuire, Dix, and Lakehurst. It was only thanks to the tireless work of Congressman Jim Saxton and others that they weren’t closed, but instead combined into the largest military base in the state,” MacArthur continued. “Today, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is the New Jersey’s second largest employer, responsible for more than 105,000 jobs, and contributes nearly $7 billion annually to our local economy.”

“The last round of BRAC hit particularly hard right next door in Monmouth County, where the closing of Fort Monmouth cost $720 million more than expected, in addition to the loss of 5,000 jobs and the base’s $3.3 billion economic impact,” MacArthur added.  “All in all, the 2005 base closures cost taxpayers $14 billion more than originally promised, and the expected savings have yet to materialize. To me, that’s too high of a price tag for something that could also make our military less capable to handle threats we’re facing around the globe.”

BACKGROUND

The Hill: Another BRAC round may be in the offing

“The Pentagon is expected to propose another round of base closures in its 2016 budget that will be unveiled in February. This would likely set off another fight with members of Congress who fiercely oppose any such closures due to the economic impact on local communities.

“I believe that doing another BRAC round is simply good government,” John Conger, acting assistant secretary of Defense for energy, installations and environment, told The Hill.”

National Journal: Pentagon asks Congress for permission to close military bases

“Rising costs from a 2005 recommendations for BRAC left some members of Congress hesitant to try again. The BRAC commission originally estimated that it would cost the Pentagon $21 billion to follow its recommendations, but, according to a 2012 GAO report, the cost ended up around $35.1 billion.”

Asbury Park Press: Closing Fort Monmouth: Costs double from $780 million to $1.5 billion

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