Pentagon officials have made, in Capitol Hill testimony and in other forums, their annual pitch for another round of base closings and realignments, saying that keeping unneeded facilities has diverted money from higher priority needs and has left many facilities in “failing” condition. At a House hearing, officials said that the Army and Air Force have 18 and 30 percent excess capacity and that an ongoing study likely will indicate a department-wide excess of about 20 percent. The Air Force said it has a $20 billion backlog in facility repairs and the other military services also cited deferred maintenance as a major issue. The most recent round of closings and realignments started in 2005 and DoD is not asking for the next one until 2019, but Congress has resisted, citing the over-optimistic projections of upfront costs and eventual savings in prior rounds. One official said that DoD “would certainly be open to dialog on how the BRAC legislation could be modified to ensure the round remains focused on recommendations that save money quickly and limit pursuit of costly recommendations.” Prior base closings round have resulted in the loss or relocation of tens of thousands of civilian DoD jobs.
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