Portuguese American Journal

Update: Valadao and Costa probe Department of Defense Report related to Lajes Field – Washington, DC

In a new development, House Representatives David G. Valadao (R-CA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) led a bipartisan letter, which was signed by 111 Members of Congress, requesting that funding be withheld for construction activity related to the Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex (JIAC) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Croughton “until the Committee completes its investigation into potential waste and fraud in the United States Department of Defense (DOD) decisions related to the consolidation of U.S. military bases in Europe.”

The letter, dated July 21, was sent to House and Senate Conferees of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

According to a prepared statement released on Friday, July 27, Congressman Valadao has stated in the letter, “It is unacceptable that the DOD may have used improper information and incorrect calculations when making decisions regarding the consolidation of military bases in Europe. Especially during these tough economic times, it is critical for the United States to use the best and most accurate information when making decisions regarding military expenditures.” He continued, “Additionally, utilizing already existing resources should be a simple, common sense method of achieving cost savings. Relocating facilities to Lajes Field, instead of building new facilities at RAF Croughton, could save the United States government hundreds of millions of dollars.”

As for Congressman Jim Costa, the letter stated, It is disappointing to find out that the Department of Defense may have given Congress an inaccurate cost-analysis in regards to making decisions to consolidate U.S. military bases in Europe. For over 70 years, Lajes Field has proven to be an important component to ensuring our national safety both at home and abroad.”

Jim Costa goes further to say, “Furthermore, the DOD’s potential lack of consideration of the existing facilities at Lajes Field inaccurately reflects the U.S. relationship with our strong ally, Portugal. If the Committee determines that the Department of Defense failed to do its due diligence in efforts to consolidate U.S. military bases in Europe, then I believe it is in the best interest of our national security and diplomatic relationship with Portugal to reevaluate Lajes Field’s suitability for a Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex.”

Also, according to the released statement, “a recent draft report by the Department of Defense found that creating a Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex (JIAC) at RAF Croughton in the United Kingdom would cost an estimated 317 million dollars. However, a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staff review of the JIAC consolidation found that cost analysis provided to Congress by the Department of Defense may not accurately portray the potential cost-savings from siting a JIAC at existing facilities. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has initiated an investigation into the methodology used by DOD in evaluating the siting of a JIAC at Lajes Field in the Azores and other existing facilities in Europe.”

The full letter to the House and Senate Conferees of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) can be found here.

Source: Office of Congressman David G. Valadao

Related on the Web

  •  Congress investigating Pentagon plan for a British base – Chicago Tribune


Recent bilateral relations actions:

Recently, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers has expressed concern that the Defense Department’s plan to downsize the Lajes Field in Terceira, Azores, will harm U.S. relations with Portugal. In February a bipartisan group of US lawmakers met in Lisbon to debate the Defense Department plan to down scaling its military outpost in the Azores and the implications for the bilateral relations with Portugal. In March, a delegation of members of the United States Congress visited the Lajes Field, on Terceira island, Azores. A bilateral meeting, between Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rui Machete, and United States government representatives, was held in June in Washington.

The bilateral actions took place at a time of tense diplomatic relations between Portugal and the United States, following the US Defense Department announcing the downsizing of the Lajes Field on the island. The plan includes the withdrawal of 500 US military personnel from US Lajes Field and the laying-off of an estimated 700 Portuguese civil workers. Lajes Field is the second largest employer on the island and downsizing the base will significantly impact the local economy.

Early in January, the United States Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, had confirmed the Pentagon’s decision to downsize the US presence in the Lajes Field. The decision will save the Pentagon an estimated $35 million annually.

In 2012, citing budgetary constraints, the US administration had informed the Portuguese government that it would significantly reduce its military presence at Lajes Field.

Congressman David G. Valadao (R-CA), who is of Portuguese-Azorean descent, represents California’s 21st Congressional District. Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), also of Portuguese-Azorean descent, represents California’s 16th District. Currently, there are three members of Portuguese descent in the US Congress, namely Devin Nunes, Jim Costa and David G. Valadao. Senator Patrick J. Toomey is also of Portuguese descent.

paj.staff.carolina matos.editor.updated 07/27/15