WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has advised President Bush that a plan presented to the White House last week for closing 22 major military bases and realigning 33 others will yield large savings, even though fewer bases would be closed than Rumsfeld wanted, a Pentagon official said yesterday.
Lawrence Di Rita, spokesman for Rumsfeld, would not say whether Rumsfeld recommended that Bush accept the plan as presented by an independent base-closing commission. But Di Rita said there would be ''substantial annual recurring savings" if the plan were implemented.
In the report it submitted to the president Friday, the base-closing commission said its recommendations would result in annual savings of $4.2 billion, compared with $5.4 billion under the plan it received last May from Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld had recommended closing 33 major bases and realigning 29 others.
''The next step in the process is that the president will decide whether or not he's going to send it to the Congress as is," Di Rita said. ''The general view is that . . . the commission made decisions that will result in substantial savings, even though savings that are less than we proposed."
Bush has until Sept. 23 to either accept the commission's report and forward it to Congress or return it to the commission for further work.