Rumsfeld to Bush: Don't Veto Bill Over Base Closure
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
SHANNON, Ireland, Dec. 14, 2001 Donald H. Rumsfeld said he will not recommend President Bush veto the Defense Appropriations Bill over base closure issues.
"I slept on it, and I'm not going to recommend that it be vetoed," Rumsfeld said aboard the plane during a trip to the Caucasus, Central Asia and NATO headquarters. "Needless to say, I wished (the BRAC round) had been earlier, but it is in (the bill)."
The DoD base-closure proposal, entitled the Efficient Facilities Initiative, called for the base closure process to begin in March 2003. The Senate and House members agreed for the process to begin in 2005.
Rumsfeld said the president vetoing the bill would delay important legislation for service members, including a sizeable military pay raise and infrastructure improvements.
Rumsfeld could not hide his disappointment when he discussed the delay in the program. He said DoD will continue to have 20 to 25 percent more bases than it needs. "We will be spending taxpayers' money -- hard-earned money -- that is being wasted to manage and maintain bases that we don't need," he said.
"Given the war on terror, we will be doing something even more egregious, and that is we will be providing force protection on bases that we do not need," Rumsfeld continued. That will be wasting money and assets that could otherwise be used to fight terrorism. "It's a shame," he said.