In an essay accompanying the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength, John Conger, who led the Pentagon’s installations office from 2012 to 2015, highlights the challenges facing DOD’s installations enterprise — years of underfunding, congressional opposition to a new BRAC round, increasing pressures from encroachment, and threats to mission assurance including energy outages, cyberattack and climate change.
“Efficiency and reform are most certainly valuable and even essential when dealing with budgets that are short of the need, but they are not enough to solve the underlying problems that DOD faces,” writes Conger, who now leads the Center for Climate & Security. “Ultimately, the department will need more money for its facilities and a holistic strategy for recovery. It needs to reinvest in its installations or divest them.”
To reinforce his point, Conger cites the response he offers when asked to describe his vision of the base of the future. “If it continues along its current trajectory, it would be dilapidated, understaffed, underfunded, and underutilized. Just like a car owner who chooses to save money by choosing not to change the oil, the nation will have to pay a much larger price down the line,” he writes.
Army photo by Brooks Hubbard IV