Panetta says no BRAC in 2013

It’s official: there will be no new round base closings next year.

Facing massive opposition to another base realignment and closure process, known as BRAC, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta threw in the towel.

“It’s now clear obviously there will not be a round of BRAC authorized” in 2013, he said in a speech to the Association of Defense Communities in Monterey, Calif.

Another round of base closings could threaten the Navy’s submarine base in Groton.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, a member of the House Armed Services, hailed the decision.

“I continue to believe that the justification for a new BRAC round does not exist, but in the meantime, we as a delegation will continue to redouble our efforts to strengthen the Groton Sub Base’s military value…” Courtney said.

But Panetta continues to insist the Pentagon needs to consolidate and shut military bases to save money — not in the short term because closing a base is expensive — but in the long term.

“Now may not be the time for BRAC as our economy recovers, but sooner or later, one way or another, the department is going to need to take a hard look at its basing infrastructure as we seek to reduce our overhead costs,” Panetta said.