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Policy Bill to Provide Explicit Authority for Installation Support Partnerships

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  • April 26, 2012
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Military installations for the first time would have a statutory authority allowing them to enter into agreements with state and local governments to provide, receive or share base support services, under a provision in the draft version of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill that the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee is scheduled to consider today.

The authority for military services to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with defense communities is intended to achieve multiple goals, including enhancing an installation’s mission effectiveness or saving it money, along with benefiting the community.

“This has been a legislative priority for ADC for many years. It’s a concept our members helped create and develop. We appreciate the chairman’s support of this initiative,” said ADC CEO Tim Ford.

The authority would allow a variety of intergovernmental support agreements, including arrangements in which a defense community provides municipal services to a neighboring installation. The best example of that kind of collaboration is the partnership between the city of Monterey, Calif., and local installations that began as a pilot project. Under a special congressional authority, the city of Monterey has an agreement with the Presidio of Monterey to provide facility maintenance, including maintaining buildings, roads, the sewer and electrical system, and heating and air conditioning. The city also supports the Naval Postgraduate School on a more limited basis.

Army officials credit the arrangement with cutting the post’s costs by 23 percent since it began in the late 1990s, as well as enhancing its mission by delivering improved service.

The new provision, Section 331 of the authorization bill, is much broader than the partnership in Monterey, allowing the military and local government to share support services or for the installation to provide services to the community. And unlike the Monterey authority, it does not limit the kinds of installation support services the two entities can exchange, with one exception. The language prohibits the exchange of police or fire protection services.

The provision also includes languages making it clear that the new authority is not intended to take precedence over existing mutual aid agreements that installations and their neighbors typically rely on to support each other in the event of an emergency.

The authority is not mandatory and installations would use it only if they believe it would be in their best interest. Similarly, local governments would only participate if they believe it would benefit the community, either by saving money or improving the installation’s military value.

“We see this as a great opportunity for the military and communities to collaborate in a new way that will yield efficiencies for both,” Ford said.

The Readiness Subcommittee’s portion of the authorization bill is available on the committee website.

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