WASHINGTON, DC– Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Susan Collins and Ranking Member Senator Joseph Lieberman today announced that they have received thousands of pages of documents related to the base closure and realignment (BRAC) process as a result of the subpoena they issued to the Department on June 7. The original June 13th deadline carried by the subpoena was extended to noon today. In addition, the Senators secured a commitment from Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England that the Department would continue to respond to requests as they arise and that he would make available to the Senators for interviews key analysts who were directly involved in the BRAC recommendations.
“While we would have preferred that the Department complied with our requests for BRAC-related information without the subpoena, it proved effective in securing vital information that is critical to individual communities in their upcoming field hearings. We do believe that the Department of Defense has been responsive to the subpoena and has worked in good faith to fulfill its obligations. The documents that we have received appear to be useful in our efforts and those of community groups and task forces. It is our hope that the cooperation shown to us since the subpoena was issued is an indication that, from this point forward, the BRAC process will be both open and accountable,” said the Senators in a joint statement.
The text of the Senators’ letter to Secretary England is as follows:
June 17, 2005
The Honorable Gordon England
Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense
The Department of Defense
Washington, DC 20301
Dear Secretary England:
We are writing concerning the subpoena issued by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 7, 2005 and the Department of Defense’s continuing obligation to ensure the transparency of the 2005 BRAC process.
First, we want to thank you for your responsiveness to the subpoena as well as for reaching out to us in an attempt to address our concerns about the BRAC process. Your assurances give us reason to hope that the process from here forward will in fact be accountable and open, and that DoD will embrace – not resist – attempts by communities and Congress to ensure that the right decisions have been reached.
As a result of negotiations between our staffs, we agreed to narrow the scope of the subpoena in exchange for your agreement to expedite production of the documents we identified. We are pleased with the results of this agreement, which yielded thousands of pages of information that has helped us and others better understand how DoD reached some of its base closure and realignment decisions.
To briefly review the process, we sent you targeted information requests, pursuant to the subpoena, on June 9, 13, 14, and 16. We also agreed to extend the deadline for the subpoena until today at noon. You have produced information responsive to most of our targeted requests, though some, of course, remain outstanding.
When you met with us this week, you committed to providing us full access to information that we request relating to the 2005 BRAC round even after we have deemed your obligations under the subpoena satisfied. You also committed to making DoD analysts and other personnel available to meet with us, our staffs, and others whom we choose to invite, if and when we request such meetings during the course of this process. We appreciate these commitments and, as a result of them and DoD’s responsiveness thus far to the subpoena, we agree that, once you have produced all of the information requested in our June 9, 13, 14, and 16 transmissions, DoD’s obligations under the subpoena will have been satisfied.
Susan M. Collins, Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman, Ranking Member