WASHINGTON, DC—Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s call for another round of base closings is drawing less than rave reviews on Capitol Hill. Hagel appeared today before the House Armed Services Committee, one day after saying the BRAC process is “imperfect,” but necessary.
It’s especially concerning to leaders in Hampton Roads, who still remember 2005, when BRAC placed NAS Oceana on the realignment list. Members voted to send the base’s 18 jet squadron operations to Florida.
Local officials worry history could repeat itself, but Armed Services Committee member Rep Randy Forbes (R-4th D.) opposes the idea of a new BRAC round. He said after Thurssday's hearing, the plan may be dead.
“I’m not too concerned,” he said. “I don’t think there’s much support in the House for another round of BRAC. I don’t think there is in the Senate because we all realize we haven’t even paid for the last round of BRAC yet. BRAC can be deceptive in the amount of money you’re saving.”
Oceana did survive BRAC 2005 after Jacksonville citizens rejected a voter referendum to re-open Cecil Field/ However, Hampton Roads didn't escape the ax. The commission closed Fort Monroe in Hampton.