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Owens says he’ll oppose potential new BRAC round

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The potential for another round of Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, was met with strong opposition Thursday from Rep. William L. Owens.

“It is not going to get my vote for the remainder of 2014, and hopefully whoever follows will not support that position,” he said.

According to Army Times, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, and other Pentagon officials will push for base closures taking place as early as 2017.

She will propose the cuts, and the benefits for the service, during the Association of Defense Communities Installation Innovation Forum, which starts Monday in San Antonio, Texas.

Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said in a phone call with the Times that he was not surprised that the idea of another round of BRAC was proposed, as it has been an item of discussion for several years for the Army as it looks to trim costs in light of funding reductions connected to sequestration.

He said many Department of Defense officials have told him they will continue pushing for additional base closures. Despite their interest, Mr. Owens said, he was concerned that defense leaders “haven’t said what it is they want to accomplish.”

In the past few years, the base closure plans have been met with little to no support in Congress, which has shut down multiple requests for such an action.

“I’m not hearing anybody say that’s a good idea,” Mr. Owens said.

The last BRAC round took place in 2005, with other rounds in 1995, 1993, 1991 and 1989.

Mr. Owens said the repeated attempts for BRAC are a concern given what he sees as the limited savings made by such cuts, and the major financial impacts on affected communities.

“I don’t have any confidence DOD can do this appropriately,” he said.

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