We’re one step closer to the closure of Walter Reed, as President Bush endorsed the BRAC plan to close 22 military bases. This isn’t quite the end of the story, though, as Congress can still veto the plan in its entirety, but with the Congress firmly in the grasp of the Republicans, it’s unlikely that Walter Reed will be saved.
According to the BRAC Medical Report, the move will cost the government nearly One Billion Dollars, but save $145.3M a year. Under community concerns, the District argued to save the base:
The Washington, DC community argued that moving Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD would disrupt the mission of the premier military medical facility, and have a negative effect on the economy of the District of Columbia and homeland security in the nationâ€™s capital. Concerns were also expressed about whether there would be sufficient housing for family members visiting service members recovering from serious conditions or injuries. They claimed DoD substantially deviated from the BRAC criteria by incorrectly calculating Walter Reedâ€™s military value, underestimating the costs for closure and realignment, and ignoring environmental cleanup costs. They suggested Walter Reed remain open, and the mission of the National Naval Medical Center be aligned with Walter Reed to ensure there are no disruptions during a time of war. They also expressed concerns about the disestablishment of the Armed Force Institute of Pathology (AFIP), which is a part of the larger Walter Reed Recommendation. The community argued that AFIP is an irreplaceable resource for disease research and education, and disestablishing elements like the tissue repository would have far-reaching implications for military and civilian medicine.
However, BRAC has decided to just rename the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, MD.
No word what will happen to the old property. Perhaps it might make a good urban Fairlington?
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs