The Future of BRAC: A Conversation

Policy Forum
March 14, 2018
9:00AM to 10:00AM EDT
Yeager Conference Center, Cato Institute
Featuring Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee; and Christopher Preble, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; moderated by Joe Gould, Capitol Hill Reporter, Defense News.

Representative Smith and Christopher Preble will discuss the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, including their findings from a new article they are copublishing in Strategic Studies Quarterly about BRAC, its impact on defense communities, and the future.

For a number of years, the U.S. military — with support of presidents from both parties — has sought congressional authorization to rid itself of excess infrastructure. Unfortunately, Congress continues to stand in the way, often citing concerns about the effect of closures on local communities.

In failing to authorize a BRAC round, however, Congress is doing more harm than good. Local communities are deprived of the support and clarity BRAC would provide, and they are denied access to property that could be put to productive use. Our military is forced to allocate resources away from training and equipping our soldiers in order to maintain unnecessary and unwanted infrastructure. Meanwhile, tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars continue to be wasted.

Debate over the BRAC process needs to be better informed by context and a real-world understanding of downstream effects, particularly the less-appreciated way that closing excess facilities positively affects communities. This conversation aims to do just that.