GOP rep: Base closures would lock in smaller military force

The Republican chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee said Tuesday that he will oppose a new round of military base closures proposed by President Obama. 

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Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesToo much ‘can do,’ not enough candor Trump makes little headway filling out Pentagon jobs Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary MORE (R-Va.), chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, said at a breakfast with reporters that closing military bases and facilities would lock in a smaller size for the U.S. armed forces.

"If you believe our force structure is where it should be right now, then you need to support a BRAC because you will lock it in for the rest of your lifetime and my lifetime," Forbes said, using an acronym for a Base Realignment and Closure Commission proposed Monday in the president's fiscal year 2016 budget.

"If you believe, as I believe, that these force structures are not right, that we are going to have to build these force structures up greater, then you'd better fight like the dickens to make sure you don't have a BRAC," he added.

"Because once we shut some of these capabilities and some of these facilities down, we will never be able to afford to build them back up again. And I think history has shown us that that's accurate.” 

Pentagon officials say at least 20 percent of its bases and facilities are underutilized and closing them could save needed funds.

Forbes said he doesn't oppose closing any bases or facilities, but is opposed to the focus on cost reduction.

"It means if they want to close it, they can come. We don't need to do it on a BRAC-wide basis," he said. "Show me your strategy, and how. Don't tell me you're doing this because it's a budgetary driven thing."