Army Directs Leaders to Slash Installation Support Spending
The Army on Wednesday ordered senior commanders to trim spending on a broad array of installation support functions, including community and recreational activities, utilities and the delivery of other services.
Overall, commanders are directed to carry out “across-the-board efficiencies” to achieve at least a 30 percent savings in fiscal 2013 base operations support compared to FY 2012 spending levels, according to a memo from Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno and Secretary John McHugh. The memo also orders commanders to reduce new and current contracts to minimum levels without incurring penalties.
Soon the assistant secretary for manpower & reserve affairs will issue guidance on the use of soldiers to perform installation functions.
The memo follows the guidance Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued last week authorizing the services to consider a range of immediate actions to mitigate the possibility that the department is required to identify FY 2013 savings of about $45 billion starting in March. The austerity measures also are needed to accommodate the likelihood that the department is funded under a continuing resolution through Sept. 30.
“Given the magnitude of our budgetary uncertainty, the Army must act now to reduce our expenditure rate and mitigate budget execution risks in order to avoid even more serious future fiscal shortfalls,” the memo says.
The directive calls for Army commanders to cease facilities sustainment activities that “are not directly connected to life, health or safety.” Commanders also should stop all restoration and modernization projects, including the facilities reduction program and projects required to allow stationing decisions to go ahead.
Other actions include implementing an immediate civilian hiring freeze across the Army and terminating temporary employees “consistent with mission requirements.” Commanders may need to consider civilian furloughs, but those are “a tool of last resort,” according to the memo. Officials also will need to conduct a related planning effort for further actions that would be necessary if sequestration is imposed.