Casey Pushes For Provision In Must-Pass Defense Bill That Could Help Save 911th

Measure With Bipartisan Support Would Raise Bar on DOD Before a Base Is Closed

If Enacted, Law Would Require DOD To Issue Objective Reasons For Closing Bases, Something Pentagon Still Hasn’t Done for 911th

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged Senate leaders to include a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act which would require the Department of Defense to establish a transparent process prior to enacting major infrastructure changes, a process that could delay the proposed closure of the Pittsburgh IAP Air Reserve Station (ARS), home of the 911th Airlift Wing. 

“The Air Force needs to be held fully accountable for the impact of its decisions on national security and local communities, which is why this provision must be included in the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Senator Casey. “The reservists and civilians at the 911th have worked tirelessly to make it one of the most efficient bases in the nation, so delaying its proposed closure while the Air Force, General Accounting Office and U.S. Congress thoroughly examine the relevant data and potential impact is a critical step toward maintaining an effective and strategic military infrastructure.”

Senator Casey recently met with the Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley to make the case for keeping the Pittsburgh ARS open, and he has repeatedly called on the Air Force to provide the analysis it used to decide to close it.

If enacted, law would require the DOD to issue objective reasons for closing bases, something the Pentagon has yet to do for the 911th. Senator Casey pushed for the provision in a bipartisan letter signed by 12 other Senators to the Senate Armed Services Committee:

Honorable Carl Levin                                                          

Chairman                                                                               

Committee on Armed Services                                          

United States Senate                                                                     

Honorable John McCain 

Ranking Member 

Committee on Armed Services

United States Senate 

Dear Chairman Levin and Ranking Member McCain: 

We write to request inclusion of a legislative provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 establishing an objective and transparent process by which the Department of Defense (DOD) would evaluate and report on the impact of force structure reductions and restructuring on global force posture prior to initiation of such actions. This process would safeguard national security while ensuring the cost effectiveness and feasibility of proposed force structure adjustments.

Our interest in addressing this process was generated by the Air Force proposal for force reductions and restructuring which affect over 60 installations in Fiscal Year 2013. We have not been provided clear and objective metrics by which the reductions and restructuring proposed at specific installations have been selected. The lack of an objective and transparent process for implementing restructuring and reductions has illustrated a need for greater clarity and improved oversight in such significant proposals.

In addition to concerns about the proposal’s impact on overall force posture and military effectiveness, the lack of analysis and comprehensive and detailed information raises serious concerns about the affordability and feasibility of implementing many of the proposals. In response, we have drafted a provision addressing the procedural shortfalls evident this year.

We recognize the DOD must reduce spending in accordance with the Budget Control Act, and as directed by DOD’s Strategic Guidance “Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities For 21st Century Defense,” the services will become leaner and more agile. As the services work towards a smaller and leaner force, we must ensure that reductions and restructuring are executed in an affordable and feasible manner resulting in an effective and efficient force strategically positioned to achieve our national security objectives.  We have worked to craft a policy that balances the goals outlined above with the need to retain flexibility for the Department and the Services.

We appreciate your consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you to ensure that proposed force reductions and restructuring efforts receive proper congressional oversight and achieve their stated objectives for cost savings and strategic enhancement.

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