DoD official argues for base closures and realignments

John C. Conger, an official in the DoD, recently suggested more base closures and realignments to save money in upcoming spending cuts.

With upcoming spending cuts in the wake of the budget crisis, the DoD has looked for ways to take out unnecessary parts while still maintaining a readiness needed for defense.

"We need to find a way to strike the right balance so infrastructure does not drain too many resources from the warfighter," Conger said. "We need to be cognizant that maintaining more infrastructure than we need taxes other resources that the warfighter needs -- from depot maintenance to training to bullets and bombs."

BRAC, a term for closing bases and realigning positions, is nothing new. Rounds of BRAC in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 have saved the DoD $8 billion annually due to reduced military base operation costs and personnel costs.

The current budget cuts would require more civilian layoffs. In the past, a round of BRAC averaged 36,000 civilian layoffs.

"There are other examples where we're driving towards efficiencies throughout the department, and we have to do that. Installations are just one piece of the puzzle," Conger said. "But as we cut down in force structure, it would be irresponsible of us not to ... propose ways to cut the tail as we cut the tooth."