Army

March 21, 2014

Congress told Army needs another BRAC round

Gary Sheftick
Army News Service

WASHINGTON — The Army has excess infrastructure that is expensive to maintain. Under a tight budget, funds used to maintain that infrastructure could be better spent on Soldier readiness, officials told lawmakers, Wednesday.

Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, testified before the House Appropriations Committee, subcommittee on military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies. She and her counterparts from the other services and Department of Defense explained the need for another round of base realignment and closure, known as BRAC.

“We simply do not have the money to operate buildings that are empty,” Hammack said, adding that facilities in mothballs are also “lost opportunities” for surrounding communities who might make better use of the property.

John Conger, acting deputy under secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, said the last BRAC round of 2005, which cost $35 billion to implement, “has left a bad taste.” Emphasis in 2005 was on “transformation” instead of only efficiencies.

“The key reason that BRAC 2005 cost so much is we were willing to accept recommendations that did not save money — that did not pay back,” he said. Any future BRAC round would solely focus on efficiencies, he said.

The last BRAC round identified an excess Army infrastructure capacity of more than 20 percent, Hammack said, adding that only 3.5 percent was reduced.

“So there is clearly excess capacity that has been there awhile that we have not addressed,” Hammack said.

In addition, she said any future end-strength reduction that puts the Army below 490,000 Soldiers will result in excess capacity.
The Army currently has an excess capacity ranging between 12 to 28 percent, depending upon the category of facility, Hammack said. She pointed out that a facility capacity analysis is currently underway Army-wide, and should be completed this year. The analysis will identify exactly how much excess is in the inventory, and will suggest opportunities for consolidation.

In addition, a programmatic environmental assessment, or PEA, is also underway, “taking another look at infrastructure,” she said.
“BRAC is a proven means to address excess capacity in the United States,” Hammack said.

The Army receives about $2 billion net savings annually from previous BRAC rounds, Hammack said. She went on to say DoD saves about $3.8 billion annually from BRAC 2005, and about $12 billion from all previous BRAC rounds.

Savings from another BRAC round are needed, Hammack said. The Army’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget of $1.3 billion for military construction and Family housing is about a 39-percent reduction from the fiscal year 2014 budget.

The focus with a reduced budget is only on repairing or replacing infrastructure that is “failing,” Hammack said, although the Army is also asking for $13 billion for installation energy, environmental programs, facility sustainment, restoration and modernization and base operations support.

Current budget levels require a “difficult balance between the cost of maintaining infrastructure and force readiness,” Hammack said.

In Europe, she said the Army is “on track” to shrink overseas infrastructure and the same will be necessary in the continental United States.

In addressing excess infrastructure, Hammack said the Army and Congress have both historically concluded that BRAC is “more transparent and economically advantageous” than other ways of addressing excess capacity.

“We have a clear business case for a 2014 round,” Hammack said. “There is a clear path forward for Congress to agree to a new round of BRAC.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
photo-2

USAEPG responds to Army radio test needs

A dismounted tester and a Humvee with the SRW-A radio mounted inside collect evaluation data on the radio is shown with the Huachuca Mountains in the background on Dec. 12. The U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground, USAEPG, recen...
 
 
U.S. Army photo

Army puts Gray Eagle, One System Remote Video Terminal through test

U.S. Army photo The MQ-1C Gray Eagle, the Army’s largest unmanned aircraft system in the inventory, recently underwent follow-on test and evaluation, which culminated June 14 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Cal...
 
 
Natalie Lakosil

HT-JCOE commanders change during June 19 ceremony

From left, outgoing Commander Col. John Boucher, Human Intelligence Training Joint Center of Excellence; Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca; and incoming C...
 

 

BLM Jackson Hotshots hosted at Fort Huachuca for portion of 2015 fire season

TUCSON, Ariz. — The only Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hotshot firefighting crew east of the Mississippi River will be based in southern Arizona for a portion of the 2015 fire season. The 20-member Jackson Hotshot crew from Jackson, Miss. will be housed in the Sierra Vista community thanks to a partnership between BLM and...
 
 

Fort Huachuca Exchange partners with Sears for savings

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is teaming up with Sears to offer military shoppers special savings on cleaning, home improvement and repair services. Fort Huachuca Exchange shoppers can now receive special offers on cleaning services including: carpets, upholstery, protector and deodorizer for carpet and upholstery, title and grout, air ducts, dryer vents and...
 
 
Mike Williams

Monsoon season is here — use caution when going outdoors

Mike Williams Water races across the road near the Bonnie Blink housing area on post during a monsoon storm last summer. Before crossing, be sure your vehicle has the clearance to make it through a wash if it has water in it. E...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>