In again asking Congress for permission to conduct another base realignment and closure round, or BRAC, DoD is saying that the new request is responsive to criticisms that past rounds did not produce the savings projected.

In particular, an official told a Senate subcommittee, the Pentagon recognizes that issue regarding the most recent round, in 2005, which has been cited as a main reason Congress has rejected a series DoD requests for additional rounds in recent years. The latest request seeks a BRAC round in 2021, with preparations needing to start well in advance.

He said that while the 2005 round was more focused on restructuring, the next would focus on efficiencies and savings as did the first four. The latest request adds a requirement for the Secretary of Defense to certify that the round “will have the primary objective of eliminating excess infrastructure to maximize efficiency and reduce cost. Similar to the existing requirement to certify the need for a BRAC round, this certification occurs at the outset of the BRAC process and is a precondition to moving forward with development of recommendations.”

“Additionally, subject to the requirement to give priority consideration to the military value selection criteria, the proposed legislation would require the Secretary to emphasize those recommendations that yield net savings within five years of completing the recommendation, and would limit the Secretary’s ability to make recommendations that do not yield savings within 20 years,” he said.

In addition, he said, DoD has addressed other concerns that arose following the most recent round, for example by conducting a similar program to realign and close facilities in Europe which it says will save $500 million a year.

DoD says it has excess U.S. capacity of about 19-22 percent and that a round of realignments and closures would save $2 billion a year. It says the five prior rounds have yielded $12 billion in annual savings.