Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 5:58pm
American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage issued the following statement in response to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's announcement regarding another round of base closings through the Base Realignment and Closure process: "We think it is premature to approve a BRAC this year until there is a comprehensive review and closure of overseas bases and we know the outcome of whether Congress will step up to the plate, increase revenue and avoid sequestration, so we know the full extent of the budget threat we are addressing rather than taking steps now that might not make sense if Congress fails to act. We think any BRAC should produce both short and long-term savings.  We should not repeat the mistakes of some of the recent rounds of BRAC where the savings are far in the out years while we spend enormous sums upfront so that we simply increase the national debt, disrupt lives of our nation's hardworking civilians and military, and in some cases destroy the livelihood of communities in the name of savings that never truly materialize.  On the other hand, we must remain vigilant to ensure that DoD does not pre-determine BRAC sites by selectively and arbitrarily reducing civilian personnel through reorganizations, RIFs and "starvation" so that the military value of an installation is diminished in advance of a review by an impartial panel. With talk of BRAC on the horizon, we must fight any measure in Congress that proposes to reduce the retirement benefits of civilian personnel, creating a double hardship for those who may be forced to retire early due to unforeseen and unavoidable job losses caused by a BRAC action or budget generated downsizing."