U.S. Rep. Adam Smith’s proposal to advance a round of military base closures did not pass its first test in the House Armed Services Committee this week.
Smith, the committee’s ranking Democrat, was trying to move forward a Pentagon’s request to scale back spending on unneeded facilities through a Base Realignment and Closure commission.
The committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Buck McKeon of California, said he wouldn’t consider the BRAC proposal almost as soon as Smith submitted it as an amendment to the annual defense budget.
“I understand Mr. Smith’s concern, and I applaud him for his courage but it’s not going to be in the defense bill this year for sure,” McKeon told Breaking Defense.
Smith withdrew his amendment this week. His spokesman said the Democrat from Bellevue intends to resubmit the BRAC amendment when the full House considers the defense budget.
Pentagon leaders want a BRAC to consolidate resources as the military winds down from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They argue the money spent on infrastructure could be better used on training and military readiness.
The last BRAC round in 2005 did not save the amount of money the Pentagon projected, according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report. Smith’s proposal would have required the Defense Department to prioritize budget savings if Congress sanctions a BRAC.
The 2005 BRAC led to the creation of 12 joint bases, including the merger of McChord Air Force Base and Fort Lewis.