Armed Services chief: No 'appetite' for new round of base closures

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee says there is little support on his panel among Republicans or Democrats for a new round of military base closures.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of appetite on the committee, on either side, to do that,” Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses Defense bill moves to formal negotiations with Confederate name fight looming Overnight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' MORE (R-Texas) told reporters after the panel’s inaugural meeting of the new Congress.


“I think we need to have this conversation about what our role in the world is before we start giving stuff up,” he added. “Because once you give up a base or a training range, you’re not going to get it back.”

The Pentagon is expected to propose a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to lawmakers when it sends its fiscal 2016 budget proposal to Capitol Hill next month.

The panel would examine the Defense Department's installations and determine which should be shuttered. The Pentagon argues it could save billions every year by getting rid of excess infrastructure.

Congress has blocked the Pentagon’s request to close bases the last few years. Lawmakers worry that a base-closing commission could axe facilities in their own districts.

Thornberry in particular said he hasn’t “gotten over” the last BRAC round that occurred in 2005. That round ended up costing the Pentagon far more to implement than originally anticipated and only recently has begun to break even.

“It has cost more money for 10 years than it has saved,” he said.