Illinois' two senators are looking at the Obama administration's plans for another round of military base closings with a skeptical eye, and good for them. This isn't Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk just trying to shield bases in Illinois, but rather to protect all taxpayers from waste.
The Government Accountablility Office has said that the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process cost a lot more than it saved. The GAO said that the expected cost of $13.2 billion to implement the plan ended up being more than $35 billion.
If the process didn't save money the last time, why would President Obama expect the results to be any different this time?
Another concern about BRAC is its objectivity. BRAC was supposed to take politics out of the process so closures were based on merit alone, but as Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin rightly comments, "I think they've replaced politicians with other politicians."
Durbin, a Democrat, and Kirk, a Republican, agree there are more effective and efficient ways for the federal government to cut military costs. For instance, Durbin suggests the military look at the F-35 joint strike fighter program, which is seven years and $164 billion over budget. Kirk believes the Defense Department should be looking at closing bases in Europe and other overseas locations before looking at closing more domestic bases.
We don't know what alternatives make the most sense, but it's clear that reusing a broken BRAC is not in our national or local interest.