Lobbyists expect BRAC in 2017, but defense cuts already taking place

Published: Friday, February 21, 2014 at 03:30 PM.

Congress is focused on the bottom line – not transforming the military - as it considers military cuts, lobbyists told the executive board of Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow Thursday.

“That’s what going to drive this thing going forward,” Shawn Edwards, of Cassidy and Associates, told the lobby group at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.

Edwards said he expected a Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2017, but until then, a “shadow BRAC” was already leading to cuts in the Department of Defense.

“Obviously the issue we’re most concerned about is Base Realignment and Closure or any kind of force reduction at Cherry Point,” Edwards said. “ … It’s difficult to take the amount of money that has come out of the defense budget, reduce the force structure as much as they have and are going to and not recognize the fact that we’re going to have significant overhead capacity.”

Craven County hired Edwards’ firm to lobby Congress and defense officials on behalf of Cherry Point.

“It’s our belief, verified through multiple sources, that the 2015 request will include a BRAC for 2017,” Edwards said. “That solves a lot of problems. That gets you past the current administration, which some people are less fans of President Obama than others, so that gets you past that conundrum. It gets you out of a presidential year, a non-election year, and gets them time to do their due diligence to make sure they have done a proper analysis going forward.”

Edwards said defense officials are getting ready for a capacity analysis in which each military base is asked for overhead costs, usage rates and other data to be used in a BRAC.

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