2012 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 10:41:22 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] CLOSURE: A new BRAC - my view
BRAC Isn't So Bad When You Consider the Alternative

Opinion by Lenny Siegel

The members of Congress and Senators who are questioning Defense Secretary Panetta's proposal for two new Base Closure rounds are being shortsighted. Once again, the U.S. military's base structure exceeds its force structure, and it's costing the country a lot of money. I have no problem with our elected representatives pointing out the essential nature of installations in their jurisdictions. It may help minimize bad closure decisions. But it's a mistake to oppose all closures in the hope of protecting local jobs and other economic activity,.

I am reminded of the Maurice Chevalier quote, "Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative." A new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round isn't bad when you consider the alternative: a reduction of activity on many bases with no opportunity for alternative use. That is, it's better to turn over bases to host communities than to let them deteriorate into ghost towns.

Secretary Panetta, with Fort Ord in his backyard back home, is more aware that most federal officials of the challenges of cleaning and reusing former military bases and ranges. There's no question that the process should be further streamlined. But nearly all Defense installations are in a much better place than they were in the early 1990s, when Fort Ord was proposed for closure. Contamination has been characterized across the board. Some facilities may require additional cleanup before transfer, but I'm guessing that paperwork, not moving dirt, will now be the major obstacle to rapid reuse.


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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