Why BRAC is good news for VA, but bad news for DoD and the Postal Service

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From my latest commentary on FederalNewsRadio.com:

[M]ost businesses anticipating a 15 percent drop in employees, and a potential 7 percent revenue decline, would want to reduce the amount of space they occupy to match the shrinking workforce. But the answer to the Pentagon’s request for another BRAC round has been “no” for the past several years, without even much discussion. And for now, there’s no reason to believe this year will be any different.

The Postal Service hit the same wall in 2011 when it proposed even thinking about the status of 3,700 locations. Many of the locations USPS wanted to consider closing are located in areas that are readily served by either other USPS locations, or by third-party vendors that provide most of the same services a full-scale post office would. But USPS has done worse than the Defense Department. Congress has slowed Postal Service efforts to make its 2015 operations better fit its 2015 customer base.

So it’s noteworthy that instead of having the door slammed in his face, as Congress has done to USPS and DoD, McDonald and his team received a far warmer welcome. In fact, the only problem the former Proctor & Gamble CEO seemed to have in selling his plan was marketing. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) warned McDonald of something he no doubt already knew — BRAC is a dirty word in Congress. “Whatever you’re doing, do not call it BRAC,” Fortenberry said, drawing knowing laughs from the other members. “This is a positive thing. We are trying to make you more efficient and effective, not close stuff in communities.”

The Pentagon and Postal Service have tried that approach too, but so far, it hasn’t worked. Maybe McDonald will have better luck.

Read the full commentary here.

(Photo: quartermaster gas station on VA property in Minneapolis, Minn., built in 1932, courtesy of Department of Veterans Affairs.)