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Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group prepares for possible BRAC hearings

A Pentagon official told Congress Tuesday that a fresh BRAC round of installation closures would save money this time.

The Military Times reported that John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for installations, told House Appropriations Committee members that the 2005 BRAC round was inefficient. He indicated that military officials learned the lesson and will report savings in a new BRAC round.

Meanwhile, the Cumberland York Area Local Defense Group is stepping up lobbying efforts to defend military bases in York and Cumberland counties. The defense group formed a year ago, composed of local officials, to counter any possible base realignment and closure program activity.

The defense group met with the York County commissioners this morning and will brief the Dauphin County commissioners next week, said Jonathan Bowser, CEO of theCumberland Area Economic Development Corp., which formed the group.

“This is part of our outreach strategy to gain regional support,” Bowser said today. “We also plan to brief our federal delegation in the spring in (Washington, D.C.).”

The defense group is lobbying for three bases: the War College/Carlisle BarracksNaval Support Activity in Hampden Township and Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna in New Cumberland.

“We will be engaging a consultant to produce a positioning plan to protect but also attract additional missions and workloads as realignment and closures happen,” Bowser said. “We expect to have this plan completed by year end.”

According to the Military Times, officials estimate that the U.S. military infrastructure is at least 25 percent bigger than it needs to be, given the force’s shrinking personnel levels. Trimming infrastructure by just 5 percent, they say, could save about $2 billion annually.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed another round of BRACs for 2015. However, Congress has been reluctant to authorize it.

Carlisle Barracks was on an initial 2005 list before being removed.

The article appeared on CPBJ.com on March 5, 2015

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