Republican wants price tag for closing Gitmo

Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay
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A Kansas congresswoman wants a full accounting of how much it would cost to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) wrote a letter to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Keith Hall requesting a study on the closing costs.

“This cost estimate on closing the detention center from the Congressional Budget Office will help members of Congress better evaluate the President’s plan and inform our constituents,” she said in written statement Wednesday.

President Obama has promised to close the facility by the time he leaves office. Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he delivered the president a plan that would close the facility and move the remaining detainees to a facility in the United States.

Obama reportedly scuttled an earlier plan last year because of its high cost.

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that closing the military prison in Cuba could cost as much as $600 million, citing unnamed Pentagon officials. The figure included a one-time cost of up to $350 million for construction of either a new facility or renovation of an existing facility. After that, it would cost less than $300 million to run.

That’s compared to the approximately $400 million annually it costs to run Guantanamo.

Pentagon teams have assessed sites in South Carolina, Colorado and Kansas for the potential to house detainees should Guantanamo close.

The Kansas site was Fort Leavenworth, which is in Jenkins's district.

In her letter, Jenkins specified the CBO study should include costs to the community.

“These costs should include but not be limited to the increased security and law enforcement personnel, the economic loss due to voluntary move outs and the need for enhanced physical infrastructure around the city, county and region to assuage the residents’ fears and concerns,” she wrote.

She also expressed concern about the effect moving Guantanamo detainees would have on international military officers enrolling in Fort Leavenworth’s Command and General Staff College.

“This increased cost to the city and county would be due to the increased security concerns and decreased enrollment by military commanders of allied nations that would normally enroll and train at Ft. Leavenworth, but for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees," she wrote.