first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR A new BRAC round is closer than ever, with Congress certain to approve the next round by 2019, Anthony Principi, chairman of the 2005 BRAC Commission, said Thursday.“If I was a betting man, between now and 2019, I’d say 100 percent,” Principi, chairman of the Principi Group, told the Tampa Tribune following the monthly meeting of the Florida Defense Support Task Force.The new round most likely would be conducted in 2019, he said, although there is a chance that a grand bargain between Congress and the White House could force a BRAC to be held in 2017.Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), however, disagreed with Principi’s assessment. “I don’t see a BRAC happening anytime soon as there’s not enough interest in Congress for having one,” Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an email to the Tribune.Principi said Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base is well positioned to survive a base closure round, but stressed the importance of continuing to carry out the day-to-day activities needed to support the installation.“I think MacDill will fare OK,” Principi said. “I learned as chairman of the last BRAC commission that you cannot assume any installation is safe. You have to make preparations and do the things to enhance the military value and reduce cost of operations. All those things are factors. There are low risks and high risks in every state and community,” he said.Establishing public-private partnerships, sharing the cost of operations, improving school systems and “making Washington aware of all the good things happening at MacDill” are the kinds of efforts that will help protect the installation, Principi said.“Florida is way out ahead of where other states are in being prepared. It is all about preparation. Once you make the [BRAC] list, the history is that there is an 86 percent chance of staying on the list,” he noted.last_img

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