WASHINGTON, D.C. (KMOX) - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill told top military officials Wednesday that as Chairman of the Senate panel with jurisdiction over base closures, she will not allow any plan to move forward this year to close domestic military bases.
“While I applaud the department’s desire to find responsible places to achieve savings, there is one area where there is absolutely no room for compromise this year,” McCaskill announced during the hearing of the Subcommittee on Military Readiness and Management Support.
McCaskill went on to question the actual savings realized by the last round of military base closures in 2005.
She argued that the Pentagon should take a thorough look at the billions of dollars that could be saved by closing some of the 1,000 military installations overseas, many of which she suggested are relics of the Cold War.
“The impact BRAC has on our communities around the country, such as those surrounding my home state bases Ft. Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base, is extraordinary,” McCaskill said. “I will not support a process that is callous or casual, or one that is rushed before we fully comprehend whether the traumatic task is clearly in the best interests of the American taxpayer and our national security.”
The Pentagon has been seeking a new round of base closings in order to cut federal spending in the defense budget.
Under BRAC, Congress would have to approve legislation to create a new base closing commission, which would then carry out an independent review of military installations and make recommendations to Congress for closures.
McCaskill’s announcement that she will not support any new base closures effectively closes the book on the effort.