The combination of growing mission requirements and sharp funding constraints has forced the Army to find ways to manage its installations more efficiently and creatively, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and the environment, said during a Washington, D.C., forum last week.
“We’re trying to figure out how to support soldiers, families, civilians and operations without the budgets that they need, with the budgets they get, so every installation has had to prioritize based upon risk and funding,” Hammack said.
“It has given us an opportunity at the headquarters level to re-evaluate our programs and services,” she said, reported the Army News Service.
As the Army tries to restore its readiness levels — amid growing demands across the globe — funding for installation support has dropped.
“It is essential we communicate with one voice in the education of our colleagues and leaders and better articulate how installation infrastructures and services directly impact readiness and where the risk is being taken and its impact on the operating force,” Hammack said.
Hammack emphasized five key challenges facing the installation community:
- communicating how installations support readiness and where they’re taking risks;
- prioritizing resources while consolidating services and programs;
- continuing to establish creative partnering to leverage core competencies;
- developing a model for installations in 2025 and beyond; and
- persuading lawmakers to authorize a new BRAC round.
She cited the Army’s successful initiatives to partner with industry to upgrade its aging stock of family housing and obtain new sources of renewable energy as models for collaborating with the private sector.
“We want to continue to explore how we can expand partnerships, strengthen community ties, while benefitting both the Army and our service-providing partners,” Hammack said.
And to help the Army eliminate the $500 million it spends annually on excess facilities, Hammack reiterated her call for a new round of base closures.
“We must have authority from Congress to consolidate into our highest-value military bases and divest of low military value or under-utilized facilities,” she said. “Today, facilities that are needed to support readiness, to support training exercises, airfields and other priorities are deteriorating because the resources are spent to support installations that could be closed.”