Wittman Cautions against Relying on Outdated Excess Capacity Estimates

Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee, appears to be as anxious as defense communities are to find out the Pentagon’s best estimate of how much of its infrastructure no longer is needed.

At a hearing Friday, Wittman cautioned fellow lawmakers against trusting estimates that have been discussed recently and, instead, indicated they should wait for a new assessment of the department’s excess infrastructure now expected to be completed by late spring.

“We asked for a report on infrastructure analysis from the service branches. It was supposed to come to us with the president’s budget. We have not received it yet. We understand that we’ll get it from the Pentagon. So that should be the reflection on what the capacity numbers are. There are a lot of other numbers floating around out there and I know the previous ones have been based on parametric analyses of the 2005 BRAC,” Wittman said.

Wittman’s comment followed a panel member’s question about how the Army would redirect the estimated $500 million it spends on excess or underutilized facilities annually if a future BRAC round succeeded in freeing up that expense. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn’s response noted that the service believes that 21 percent of its capacity is excess to its needs.

“I want to make sure we’re not too fast and loose with numbers. I understand what you want to get at, but I want to make sure, too, that we are going to get that based on information from DOD,” Wittman said.

A webcast of the hearing on the Army’s fiscal 2017 operation and maintenance budget request and readiness posture is available on the committee website.

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