The Army wants another two rounds of base realignment and closure to optimize facility usage across the service.
While speaking March 21 before the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee on readiness and management support, Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army for installations, environment and energy told senators of the need for another two rounds of Base Realignment and Closure, known as BRAC, for fiscal years 2013 and 2015.
“The Army’s fiscal year 2013 budget request is a balanced program that reflects the current fiscal environment and it supports an Army in transition while at war,” Hammack said. “The Army does support the administration’s request for BRAC authority in 2013 and 2015. Changes in force structure will necessitate a revaluation of our facilities to optimize usage, capability and costs.”
Hammack also told senators the Army’s construction budget request reflected the nation’s current fiscal reality and is a 32 percent reduction from 2012.
“We know the fiscal challenges the nation faces and are planning accordingly to implement what was asked of us by the budget control act,” she said. “The Army has implemented a facility’s strategy to focus our strategic choices on cost-effectiveness and efficiency reducing unneeded footprints, saving energy by preserving the most efficient facilities and consolidating functions for better space utilization.”
The Army recently completed the last round of base realignment and closure. Hammack said the Army met its BRAC 2005 obligation within the six-year implementation window and it was a very different BRAC from the previous four in that it was a transformational BRAC of installations to better support the war fighter.
In the process, she said, the Army shut down 11 installations, 387 reserve-component sites, realigned 53 installations and their functions at an investment cost of about $18 billion which included 329 major construction projects.
“It transformed how the Army trains, deploys, supplies, equips and cares for its soldiers and garrisons and the realignment has enabled our troops to train the way we fight,” she said with regard to BRAC 2005. “This may not have resulted in cost savings, but it has impacted training effectiveness.”
Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations & Environment Dorothy Robyn said the Army in particular used BRAC 2005 to carry out major transformational initiatives such as the modularization of the brigade combat team.
“In short, the ’05 round took place during a period of growth in the military and it reflected the goals and needs of that time,” Robyn said. “The focus was on transforming installations to better support forces as opposed to saving money and space, so it’s a poor gauge of the savings the department can achieve through another BRAC round.”