Monday, March 26, 2012
Listening to South Texan's Concerns
Last Friday, I hosted a meeting with local stakeholders in South Texas to discuss the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC). I hosted this meeting after hearing from South Texans worried our bases might be closing.
Though the Pentagon is looking at closing potential military bases as a result of budget constraints, it seems unlikely Congress will agree to anything this year. Depending on how budgeting goes over the next few years, we may be facing a BRAC down the road. After hearing from many involved, I believe our bases are in good shape, but we must be prepared. The various local Chamber of Commerce groups and other community and military leaders are working closely with me on this important matter.
Check out the Corpus Christi Caller Times article for more information on the meeting.
Congressman Farenthold listening to South Texan's concerns on BRAC at a stakeholder meeting at Del Mar College.
In the face of $487 billion in budget cuts, the Pentagon has suggested BRAC to reduce operating costs here at home. However, both the House and Senate indicate they do not support a BRAC process to be carried out in 2013 as the Pentagon has suggested. Additionally, it would actually cost the U.S. money in the short term to begin closing bases, and this is an expense we cannot afford. I do not believe we have heard proper justification for a BRAC. I will fight any efforts to authorize another formal BRAC round, specifically if they mark any South Texas facilities for closure.
What is BRAC?
BRAC is the process by which the Department of Defense (DOD) can close or realign military installations within the United States. The last BRAC process happened in 2005 which resulted in the closing of Naval Station Ingleside. Since the 1990's, Congress has authorized the creation of four bi-partisan BRACs. South Texas is home to many military installations and closing any of these bases would harm an already fragile economy, and not be good for military readiness.