In the News

Take a page from Goldwater’s playbook

Lawrence Korb writes about how President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his staff should take a page out of the Goldwater playbook and make public a list of bases they would close if they could.

For the past two years, the Armed Services committees of both the House and Senate have refused the Pentagon’s request to create another Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). If the Pentagon’s leaders are serious about getting Congress to create another BRAC to eliminate its excess overhead, they can take a page of the playbook that Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) and I used in 1985.

As President Reagan began his second term in 1985, the nation, as it does now, faced a problem of an escalating federal deficit. And it was clear that defense spending, which had risen by 28 percent in real terms in Reagan’s first term, was going to decline significantly (it actually declined by 10 percent in real terms). Goldwater, who had become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee that same year, was concerned that the Pentagon was not doing enough to reduce its excess overhead and therefore would have to jeopardize readiness and capability to conform to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit-reduction law.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Hill. Click here to view the full article.

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Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow