The Pentagon has estimated that its latest proposal to close and realign facilities would eliminate about 26,000 civilian positions, with the Army and Air Force workforces likely bearing the brunt.
That estimate came in a document to support DoD’s request that Congress authorize another Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, process, to be conducted in 2021. Such a process involves an internal study, then public hearings and a formal proposal that takes effect unless Congress rejects it. DoD has not gone through that process since 2005, and the document says that “the time to authorize another BRAC round is now.”
The document says that DoD can no longer afford to maintain excess base capacity, which it puts at 19 percent by one measure and 22 percent by another. By the former measure, the Army has 29 percent excess and the Air Force 28 percent, while by the latter the Army has 33 percent excess and the Air Force 32 percent. The Navy has 6 and 7 percent excess, respectively, and the Defense Logistics Agency 13 and 12, it says.
“This level of excess is not surprising given the fact that in 2004 the department found that it had 24% excess and BRAC 2005 reduced infrastructure by 3.4%,” it says. That round of closings focused more on realignment, it said, adding that the next round would focus more on downsizing as did the rounds before 2005. It based the 26,000-position loss estimates on the results of the earlier BRACs.
Congress has rejected several prior similar requests, citing reports from GAO and others that prior rounds overestimated the savings.
The Pentagon also is asking Congress to continue several special pay provisions, including raising certain compensation caps, for federal employees working in combat zones or other designated dangerous areas overseas. Those authorities have been extended year-to-year routinely for many years.