The Army has launched a formal effort to consider a new model for providing installation support services with the aim of turning over some functions to the private sector and finding more efficient uses for posts’ excess property.
Army facility experts next month will meet for one week to determine what functions need to be located on an installation and to craft a plan for transferring responsibility for on-base services that could be delivered outside a post’s security perimeter to private operators, reported Federal News Radio.
“I think we have an opportunity to reset ourselves for the future, taking a look at new technologies, new requirements, current affordability,” Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and the environment, said at a recent Association of the U.S. Army meeting. “I don’t think the 1800s model is something we should have in this century.”
The “Base of the Future” study partially is a response to lawmakers’ rejection over the past four years of the Pentagon’s request for a new round of base closures and the Army’s excess infrastructure the Army has no mechanism for shedding. But the initiative also is intended to take a fresh look at what essential functions the military needs to provide on it installations.
At the meeting, Hammack questioned the Army’s historical model of creating walled-off, miniature cities at its posts, according to the story.
“We’re still doing that in places like Fort Bliss, Texas. What kind of security do we need, and what are we securing ourselves against? Is that the kind of model we need for the future? What do we need to do on base, and what is better done in the communities that surround us?” she asked. “Do we need restaurants or hotels on a military base, or should we just focus on things like training and equipping?”
The review likely will draw on the Army’s partnership with the city of Monterey, Calif., that has been providing the Presidio of Monterey with facility maintenance — including maintaining buildings, roads, the sewer and electrical system, and heating and air conditioning — and other municipal services for more than 15 years.
Another model could be Redstone Arsenal, Ala., which shrunk its security perimeter to protect only key military facilities so it would have the flexibility to lease property outside its gates to developers through enhanced use leasing.