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109th Congress 
 1st Session            HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                 Report

                         REALIGNMENT COMMISSION


                             ADVERSE REPORT

                                 OF THE

                      COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES

                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


                              H.J. RES. 65

                             together with


      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]



 September 29, 2005.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
           the State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

                       One Hundred Ninth Congress

                  DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania            IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado                JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey               SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York             LANE EVANS, Illinois
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama               GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
HOWARD P. ``BUCK'' McKEON,           MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
    California                       SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas                VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana          ADAM SMITH, Washington
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina      LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JIM RYUN, Kansas                     MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada                  ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina          ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
KEN CALVERT, California              ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut             SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia               JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri               STEVE ISRAEL, New York
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia            RICK LARSEN, Washington
JEFF MILLER, Florida                 JIM COOPER, Tennessee
JOE WILSON, South Carolina           JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey        KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire           MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio                 TIM RYAN, Ohio
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota                MARK UDALL, Colorado
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan          G.K. BUTTERFIELD, North Carolina
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama                 CYNTHIA McKINNEY, Georgia
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona                DAN BOREN, Oklahoma
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
CATHY McMORRIS, Washington
                   Robert L. Simmons, Staff Director

                            C O N T E N T S


Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background.......................................................     2
Executive Communication..........................................     3
Legislative History..............................................     3
Committee Position...............................................     4
Fiscal Data......................................................     4
    Congressional Budget Office Estimate.........................     4
    Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate....................     4
    Committee Cost Estimate......................................     5
Oversight Findings...............................................     5
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     5
Statement of Federal Mandates....................................     6
Record Vote......................................................     6
Additional and Dissenting Views:
    Additional Views of Joel Hefley and Solomon P. Ortiz.........     8
    Additional Views of J. Randy Forbes..........................    10
    Additional Views of Cathy McMorris...........................    12
    Dissenting Views of Solomon P. Ortiz.........................    13

109th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    109-243

                         REALIGNMENT COMMISSION


 September 29, 2005.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed


    Mr. Hunter, from the Committee on Armed Services, submitted the 

                             ADVERSE REPORT

                             together with


                      [To accompany H.J. Res. 65]

    The committee on Armed Services, to whom was referred the 
joint resolution (H.J. Res. 65) disapproving the 
recommendations of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment 
Commission, having considered the same, report unfavorably 
thereon without amendment and recommend that the joint 
resolution does not pass.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    House Joint Resolution 65, introduced on September 20, 
2005, by Congressman Ray LaHood, disapproves the 
recommendations of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment 
Commission as submitted by the President on September 15, 2005.
    The resolution is one of two identical resolutions of 
disapproval introduced by members of the House. It meets the 
requirements for a resolution of disapproval as provided by 
section 2908(a) of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act 
of 1990 (Public Law 101-510, as amended).
    Enactment of a joint resolution of disapproval within the 
timeline prescribed by Public Law 101-510 would prevent the 
base realignment and closure (BRAC) recommendations made by the 
2005 BRAC Commission from taking effect.


    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 
(Public Law 107-107) authorized the use of amended authorities 
and procedures contained within Public Law 101-510 to conduct a 
round of base realignments and closures in 2005. The 2005 BRAC 
round is the fifth round of base closures since 1988.
    Pursuant to Public Law 107-107 and Public Law 101-510, on 
May 13, 2005, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted 
to Congress and the Defense Base Closure and Realignment 
Commission a list of recommended base closure and realignment 
actions. The secretary's list comprised 190 recommendations, 
including 33 ``major'' closures (``major'' installations were 
defined by the secretary as those with a plant replacement 
value exceeding $100 million), 29 ``major'' realignments, and 
775 smaller closures and realignments. According to the BRAC 
commission, implementation of the secretary's recommendations 
would have resulted in net savings over 20 years of $47.8 
billion, with annual savings after implementation of $5.4 
    On September 8, 2005, the commission submitted an amended 
list of BRAC recommendations to the President. Of the 
secretary's initial 190 recommendations, the commission 
approved 119 with no change and another 45 with amendments. The 
commission rejected 13 recommendations, significantly modified 
another 13, and made 5 additional closure or realignment 
recommendations. Of the secretary's recommended 33 major 
closures, the commission approved 21, changed 7 to 
realignments, and rejected the remaining 5. Of the secretary's 
recommended 29 major realignments, the commission approved 25, 
changed 1 to realignment, rejected the other 3, and added 1 not 
requested by the secretary.
    According to the commission, the revised recommendations 
will result in 20 year savings of $35.6 billion over 20 years 
with annual savings of $4.2 billion. However, a large part of 
these savings would take the form of personnel becoming 
available to conduct other tasks. Discounting the personnel 
savings, the commission estimates that its recommendations will 
result in net savings of $15.1 billion over 20 years with 
annual savings after implementation of approximately $2.5 
    On September 15, 2005, the President concurred with the 
commission's recommendations and sent them to Congress for 
review \1\. Under the provisions of Public Law 101-510, the 
commission's recommendations will become binding unless a 
resolution of disapproval is enacted. The law specifies the 
text of the resolution of disapproval and does not permit 
additions, deletions, or amendments to the recommendations 
affecting installations on the BRAC list. Enactment of the 
resolution would require passage by both houses of Congress as 
well as approval by the President or a veto override.
    \1\ A complete copy of the report, as transmitted by the President 
on September 15, 2005, is available as House Document 109-56.
    Public Law 101-510 provides expedited procedures for 
congressional consideration of the resolution of disapproval. 
First, it provides for a limited period of time during which 
the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee 
on Armed Services may consider the resolution. Failure to act 
within this time period would result in the resolution being 
discharged from further consideration.
    Second, on or after the third day after the committee has 
reported the resolution, or has been discharged from further 
consideration, any Member of Congress may move to proceed to 
the consideration of the resolution, after giving notice the 
preceding calendar day.
    The commission recommendations will become binding unless 
the resolution is enacted before one of the following occurs: 
(1) the end of a 45-day period beginning on the date on which 
the President transmitted the commission's recommendations to 
Congress, but excluding any adjournment period of more than 
three days; or (2) the adjournment sine die of Congress for the 

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATION

                                   The White House,
                            President of the United States,
                                  Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2005.
Congress of the United States, Washington, DC.
    To the Congress of The United States: I transmit herewith 
the report containing the recommendations of the Defense Base 
Closure and Realignment Commission pursuant to sections 2903 
and 2914 of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 
1990, Public Law 101-510, 104 Stat. 1810, as amended. That 
report includes changes referenced in errata sheets submitted 
to me by the Commission, including the enclosed errata sheets 
dated September 8, September 9, September 12, and September 13, 
    I note that I am in receipt of a letter from Chairman 
Principi, dated September 8, 2005, regarding a district court 
injunction then in effect relating to the Bradley International 
Airport Air Guard Station in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. 
Chairman Principi's letter states that, as a result of that 
injunction, ``you should consider the portion of Recommendation 
85 . . . that recommends realignment of the Connecticut 103rd 
Fighter Wing withdrawn from the Commission's report.'' The 
Chairman's letter further states that ``[i]f the court's 
injunction is later vacated, reversed, stayed, or otherwise 
withdrawn, it is the intent of the Commission that the entirety 
of the recommendation be a part of the Commission's report.'' 
On September 9, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for 
the Second Circuit granted a stay of the district 
court'sinjunction. Because the injunction is no longer in effect, 
Recommendation 85 in its entirety is part of the Commission's report.
    I certify that I approve all the recommendations contained 
in the Commission's report.
                                            George W. Bush,

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    As noted above, H.J. Res. 65 was introduced on September 
20, 2005, and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
    On September 27, 2005, the Committee on Armed Services held 
a mark-up session to consider H.J. Res. 65. The committee 
reported adversely the resolution of disapproval by a record 
vote of 43 ayes to 14 noes.

                           COMMITTEE POSITION

    On September 27, 2005, the Committee on Armed Services met 
in open session and, a quorum being present, reported adversely 
the resolution H.J. Res. 65 to the House by a vote of 43-14.

                              FISCAL DATA

    Pursuant to clause 3(d) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the committee attempted to ascertain 
annual outlays resulting from the resolution during fiscal year 
2005 and each of the following five fiscal years. The results 
of such efforts are reflected in the committee cost estimate, 
which is included in this report pursuant to clause 3(d)(2) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives.


                                                September 28, 2005.
Hon. Duncan Hunter,
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.J. Res. 65, 
Disapproving the Recommendations of the Defense Base Closure 
and Realignment Commission.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is David Newman.
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,


    H.J. Res. 65 would disapprove the recommendations of the 
2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, 
preventing the Department of Defense from implementing those 
recommendations. Enacting the joint resolution would not affect 
direct spending or revenues. It would significantly affect 
spending subject to appropriation--because implementation of 
the Commission's recommendations is likely to cost money in the 
near term, but save money over time. CBO has not prepared an 
estimate of such discretionary costs and savings; however, a 
summary of the Commission's estimates is included below.
    The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 set up 
a process by which military installations would be recommended 
for closure or realignment by an independent commission. The 
Department of Defense (DoD) would implement the recommendations 
unless the Congress were to enact a joint resolution 
disapproving them. Public Law 107-107, the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002, authorized a new round 
of base closures and realignments for 2005, the first time 
since 1995, and authorized the establishment of a commission to 
review recommendations from DoD and to submit a final list of 
recommended closures and realignments to the President of the 
United States.
    On September 8, 2005, the Commission released its 
recommendations, which called for closing or realigning the 
activities at 182 installations. When measured in 2005 dollars, 
the Commission's analysis indicates that these actions would 
cost $5.5 billion over the 2006-2011 period, but would save 
$4.2 billion annually after that implementation period, 
assuming that appropriations are reduced accordingly. Over 20 
years, the Commission estimates that DoD could save over $35 
billion, including $20 billion in savings associated with 
eliminating some military personnel positions at closed 
installations. However, since DoD's current force structure 
plans do not include a reduction in military personnel, the 
Commission notes that these savings are unlikely to be 
realized, and estimates that actual savings would be about $15 
billion over the 2006-2025 period.
    The President concurred with the Commission's 
recommendations and transmitted them to the Congress on 
September 15, 2005. Under current law, if no action is taken by 
the Congress, DoD will begin closing and realigning the 
affected bases in 2006. Therefore, enactment of H.J. Res. 65 
would cost money relative to current law because savings from 
the base closures would be forgone. All costs and savings 
related to those base closures and realignments would be 
subject to appropriation action. CBO has not prepared an 
independent estimate of the magnitude of the costs involved.
    H.J. Res. 65 contains no intergovernmental or private-
sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is David Newman. 
The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                        COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 3(d) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the committee generally concurs with 
the estimate contained in the report of the Congressional 
Budget Office.

                           OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    With respect to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the committee, based on 
oversight activities pursuant to clause 2(b)(1) of rule X, are 
incorporated in the descriptive portions of this report.
    With respect to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 308(a)(1) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this resolution does not 
include any new spending or credit authority, nor does it 
provide for any increase or decrease in tax revenues or 
    With respect to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, performance goals and objectives 
can not be explained, because the resolution does not require 
any new funding.


    Pursuant to Rule XIII, clause 3(d)(1) of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in Article I, Section 8 of the United States 


    Pursuant to section 423 of Public Law 104-4, this 
legislation contains no federal mandates with respect to state, 
local, and tribal governments, nor with respect to the private 
sector. Similarly, the resolution provides no unfunded federal 
intergovernmental mandates.

                              RECORD VOTES

    In accordance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the committee sets forth the 
following record vote that occurred during the committee's 
consideration of H.J. Res. 65.
    As previously noted, the committee ordered H.J. Res. 65 
report to the House with an adverse recommendation by a vote of 
43-14, a quorum being present.

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    Although we differed in our positions on reporting H.J. 
Res. 65 adversely to the House, we share the belief that the 
2005 base realignment and closure (BRAC) round must be the 
final time the current BRAC model is used to make closure and 
realignment decisions.
    We submit the following examples of events that occurred 
during this BRAC round, within the parameters of the Defense 
Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, to demonstrate our 
concerns with the existing process.
           Following release of the Secretary of 
        Defense's BRAC recommendations, DOD was unprepared to 
        release data that supported its recommendations. Citing 
        security concerns, the Department's delays not only 
        impacted the ability of Congress, local communities, 
        and the commission to review the recommendations, but 
        created the appearance that DOD was ``slow rolling'' to 
        prevent the deconstruction of its recommendations.
           Some observers have noted that certain 
        commission decisions appear to have been influenced by 
        political pressures. The spectre of politics within the 
        process raises legitimate concerns whether the BRAC 
        process, particularly the use of a commission within 
        the process, remains a viable one.
           The commission included an unprecedented 
        number of ``contingent'' recommendations in its report. 
        Some recommendations--such as for Cannon Air Force 
        Base--created the appearance that commissioners were 
        avoiding making difficult political decisions. Other 
        recommendations--such as for Naval Air Station Oceana--
        make extraordinary demands on the local community. It 
        is questionable whether this was an appropriate use of 
        the commission's powers, and it was not our intent that 
        the commission attempt to broker land acquisitions, 
        build buffer zones, or force states into negotiations 
        to keep their bases open.
           The commission placed extraordinary emphasis 
        on the community impact of closures and realignments. 
        Although community impact is one of the selection 
        criteria, BRAC law clearly states that military value 
        criteria are of greater priority. Such reordering of 
        the criteria may result in infrastructure with less 
        than optimum military value and raises questions about 
        the commission's motivations.
           The commission's lack of organization raised 
        questions about its credibility. For instance, 
        decisions made by the commissioners during and after 
        markup proceedings relating to Otis Air Force Base 
        resulted in DOD, communities, and commissioners alike 
        believing that the base had been closed. Instead, a 
        later review of the amendments voted on revealed that 
        the base had been realigned. Such events diminish 
        confidence in the commission's ability to conduct 
        business in a professional manner.
    While we do not agree whether such flaws are sufficient to 
warrant disapproval of the 2005 BRAC recommendations, each one 
heightens doubts about the credibility of the process.
    Considering that credibility is the foundation upon which 
the BRAC process is built, its erosion is particularly 
worrisome. In fact, as a result, we believe that BRAC 2005 
should be the final time our nation conducts base realignments 
and closures through the process as we know it today.
    While we believe that further reductions of military 
infrastructure after the 2005 BRAC round would present an 
unacceptable risk to national security, we also recognize that 
there may be a desire to make further base closures or 
realignments in the distant future.
    In such an event, we urge that Congress develop a new BRAC 
process that is able to make measured, apolitical, and 
transparent decisions while restoring its credibility. To do 
less--by relying again upon the current BRAC legislation, for 
instance--will surely result in recommendations in which the 
nation has no confidence and may also result in decisions that 
support political rather than national security interests.
                                                       Joel Hefley.
                                                  Solomon P. Ortiz.


    I am writing to respectfully express my additional views in 
opposition to the BRAC process and to further explain my vote 
supporting H.J. Res. 65 (the Joint Resolution Disapproving the 
Recommendations of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment 
    As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I have always 
viewed one of my responsibilities and one of my great honors to 
stand with and support the military leaders who defend and 
protect the United States of America every day. I am proud of 
them and grateful for their service. My vote in support of H.J. 
Res. 65 was a vote against the BRAC process and not a vote 
against the recommendations of our military leaders. If my vote 
would ultimately stop the realignments or closures deemed 
necessary by our military leaders, I would not support H.J. 
Res. 65. However, I am casting this vote to express my feeling 
that this BRAC process is wrong and in hopes that it will not 
occur again.
    In any realignment or closure process there are winners and 
losers. In this case, the fourth congressional district of 
Virginia, which I represent, was a winner. In fact, my district 
fared quite well through the BRAC realignments, gaining almost 
7,000 military positions and numerous other civilian support 
jobs. However, the process used was flawed.
    This BRAC round was marketed to Congress and the American 
people with faulty and misleading estimates of savings that 
could be realized if the recommendations were implemented. The 
Department of Defense (DoD) originally claimed that the BRAC 
recommendations would save $47.8 billion over 20 years after 
the BRAC process was completed. These estimates were based, in 
part, on ``savings'' that were to be realized from personnel 
who would be eliminated due to bases being closed or units 
being realigned. However, the BRAC process does not eliminate 
personnel, only relocating personnel to other locations. These 
personnel would still be paid their salaries and benefits at 
their newly-assigned bases. So, the inflated BRAC savings were 
based on these faulty assessments. The actual savings from 
BRAC, based on the commission's recommendations, drop to $15.1 
billion over 20 years. This is a considerably different figure 
than initially advertised and should cause some to think 
carefully before concluding that BRAC is a worthwhile endeavor. 
Many of us had argued this point when BRAC was first proposed. 
We are saddened that our fears were realized.
    The savings issue becomes all the more important when 
considering how a wrong decision in BRAC could be all that more 
costly in the future. The BRAC process was accomplished before 
the Overseas Basing Commission Report and the Quadrennial 
Defense Review (QDR) have been completed and fully digested by 
those experts who could make sound national security 
assessments and recommendations with such information. This is 
exactly the reverse of the way the process should work. The 
Overseas Basing Commission Report and the QDR should inform the 
BRAC process, not the other way around. I fear that in the not-
too-distant future that these reports may indicate that the 
BRAC process has made the wrong determinations with respect to 
some base closures and realignments recommended in this round 
of BRAC. If this happens, it may be too late to change the BRAC 
recommendations and we may have to spend even more time and 
money to reestablish a base or capability that we thought was 
disposable in the BRAC analysis. In addition, and perhaps most 
frustrating, the BRAC process, as I predicted at the outset, 
has been too political and the assessment standards applied 
unequally to some regions and installations but not to others.
    Finally, I take exception to the basic premise of the Base 
Realignment and Closure process that allows nine non-elected 
officials to make major strategic and irrevocable decisions 
regarding our military infrastructure. These appointed 
officials should not be allowed to overturn the decisions made 
by our uniformed and civilian military leaders to which we 
entrust our national security. Why nine individuals, some of 
whom have no military experience, are a better judge of our 
military needs than our elected officials and thousands of 
career professionals in the DoD makes no sense. We entrust the 
greatest fighting force the world has ever known to the hands 
of our military leaders everyday and ask them to protect that 
force and use it to defend and protect our country. I cannot 
support a process that then allows nine non-elected people who 
are politically appointed to tell those military leaders they 
are wrong and what they must do with their facilities. That is 
a role for Congress and should not be abdicated when so much is 
at stake.
    The BRAC round completed in 2005 was untimely, overly 
political, and marketed with misleading figures. This BRAC 
round, in retrospect, may cause us to make irrevocable mistakes 
when more thorough analyses such as the Overseas Basing 
Commission Report and the QDR are taken into account. While it 
is tempting for a member of Congress who has gained much in the 
way of military personnel allocations through the BRAC process 
to ignore its faults, I am casting this vote in hopes that we 
will not use this process again in the future.
                                                   J. Randy Forbes.


    Mr. Chairman, as a member of the House Armed Services 
Committee, I would like to bring to the committee's attention a 
few key points as they pertain to the most recent Base 
Realignment and Closure Commission review of our nation's 
military installations.
    I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the 
important role that Fairchild Air Force Base plays in our 
national security efforts. Fairchild is home to the 92nd Air 
Refueling Wing. It is located 10 miles west of Spokane, 
Washington, is a modern, multi-mission base that is home to one 
of the world's largest air-refueling winds and four co-located 
units. These units include Washington National Guard 141st Air 
Refueling Wing; the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency; the 336th 
Training Group that operates the Air Force's only survival 
school; and Air Combat Command 2nd Support Squadron.
    I believe that the BRAC recommendations largely recognize 
the important military assets of Fairchild Air Force Base. 
However, I am concerned about the realignment of all eight Air 
National Guard (ANG) KC-135 Tankers from Washington's 141st Air 
Refueling Wing. Fairchild's active duty and Guard tankers 
continue to serve a number of important state and federal 
flying missions. Those missions include providing important 
mobility for our national air defense through refueling and 
providing the Governor of Washington and the region with 
emergency airlift capacity in the time of state and regional 
    Furthermore, this realignment overlooks the critical role 
that the 141st ANG plays in ensuring the security of the 
Pacific Northwest and our nation. Air refueling tankers are 
vital assets in the rapid protection of forces around the 
world. With emerging security threats in the North Pacific, 
this is not the time to be reducing our mobility of air assets. 
Fairchild Tankers fly shorter distances to the Pacific Rim--
arriving with more fuel in less time--making them a valuable 
part of our nation's national security efforts.
    I am hopeful that the Department of Defense will reexamine 
the realignment of the eight ANG Tankers from Fairchild Air 
Force Base. This is critical due to their importance not only 
to our national defense, but also serve Washington State and 
the Pacific region in a strategic and crucial public safety 

                                                    Cathy McMorris.


    I continue to have abiding concerns about the security of 
the Gulf of Mexico in light of the closure of the only two 
Naval Stations in the Gulf of Mexico. This concern extends 
beyond the fact that Naval Station Ingleside, located in my 
district, is to be closed as a result of the 2005 Base 
Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
    Sometimes we forget the importance of the Gulf of Mexico 
region. One third of the continental United States ocean 
coastline is located along the Gulf of Mexico compared to 40 
percent along the East Coast and 27 percent along the West 
Coast. Further, 51 percent of U.S. refining capability is along 
the Gulf of Mexico compared to 17 percent and 11 percent along 
the west and east coasts respectively. Over 70 percent of all 
crude oil imports enter the U.S. through Gulf ports, where 8 of 
the top 10 ports (tonnage) are located. The vast majority of 
domestic oil and gas offshore production takes place in the 
Gulf of Mexico compared to practically none along the East 
    Up to this point, the military basing plan put forth by the 
Department of Defense and approved by the BRAC Commission will 
ensure that there will be an ongoing active Navy presence along 
the 1,900 miles of Atlantic Coast from Portsmouth, NH to Key 
West, FL, including 84 Navy vessels. At the same time, there 
will be ZERO Navy surface bases along the 1,550 miles of the 
Gulf of Mexico with ZERO vessels homeported in the region.
    The U.S. Northern Command has indicated there is an 
acceptable level of risk to homeland defense in the Gulf of 
Mexico after closure of all surface naval facilities in the 
Gulf. NORTHCOM has also indicated that their actionable 
intelligence plays a key role in the posture of our homeland 
defense forces. While I have not yet obtained requested 
information on maritime patrol flight and steaming hours in the 
Gulf of Mexico compared to other regions of the continental 
United States, I have obtained information from the Department 
of Homeland Security and the Southern Command that cause me 
great concern about the Gulf region, whether it be homeland 
defense or security.
    Additionally, one of the primary ``feeder'' areas for 
maritime threat to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. logically stems 
from Central and South America and Mexico. Since FY 2001, U.S. 
military maritime patrol in this area has dropped dramatically. 
In terms of days and hours of assets assigned to this operating 
area, Navy surface assets available for patrol have been 
reduced by 53 percent; U.S. Army air support for maritime 
patrol has been reduced by 72 percent; Navy maritime air patrol 
has shrunk by over 51 percent; and Air Force maritime patrol 
has dropped by 59 percent. If these trends continue, this 
critical area is going to be defended less, not more, in this 
dangerous age. These statistics in and of themselves are 
alarming. However, when coupled with other statistics related 
specifically to our homeland defense strategy, it is very clear 
that the U.S. has a serious threat to its southern coast that 
is not adequately addressed or resourced.
    Documented information from federal maritime commands 
operating in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean would seem to 
contradict the assertion that the Gulf is adequately protected 
without ANY surface operational naval base in the region. For 
example, of the criminal maritime traffic headed north towards 
the Gulf, 75 percent of activity known to exist from actionable 
intelligence is never detected--likely due to a lack of 
maritime patrol assets operating in the Gulf area. Of the 
detected hostile tracks, 25 percent are never intercepted. 
According to documentation, 84 percent of the time this failure 
is due to a lack of surface assets in the area.
    With open source information clearly documenting the 
increasing number of people with terrorist ties illegally 
entering the Central and South American area, the history of 
established maritime smuggling routes, and the large 
concentration of national energy and food resources bordering 
the Gulf of Mexico region--common sense dictates that the Gulf 
of Mexico is a primary terrorist target and that planned basing 
decisions do not provide adequate security.
    For these reasons I am compelled to strongly disagree with 
the BRAC recommendations and support House Joint Resolution 65. 
We must ensure the Gulf of Mexico, and particularly the Western 
Gulf, is not left vulnerable to terrorist attack due to 
inadequate homeland defense and security coordination and 
mission planning. Our citizens along the Southern coast of the 
United States deserve the same level of protection as those 
living along the east and west coasts.

                                                  Solomon P. Ortiz.