The Defense Department has struggled the past three years under sequestration, prompting cuts in funding for operations and training, a reduction in its force structure and declining support for installations.
For defense communities, the future is uncertain. If Congress fails to provide the Pentagon relief from the stringent caps now in place, many installations will start to “hollow out,” with local economies and services forced to cope with a dwindling military presence. A new BRAC round likely would relieve some of the pressure on communities, but lawmakers so far have rejected the Obama administration’s repeated requests for additional base closures.
At the same time, DOD and community leaders crafting a framework for the “Base of the Future” have been looking at new ways to collaborate to provide installation services.
The opening general session of this month’s Defense Communities National Summit will kick off with a roundtable of four defense experts exploring the crossroads that defense communities now find themselves confronting. The panel, scheduled for Monday, June 22, at 12 p.m., will help attendees understand the existing challenges facing communities and how likely scenarios, such as the possibility of a new BRAC round, may affect what military installations look like in the future.
The panelists include:
- John Conger, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment
- Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
- Robert Hale, former Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer; Fellow, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
The panelists will address a variety of questions aimed at understanding what communities can expect in the next several years:
- How will the rise in global threats affect the trajectory of future defense budgets?
- What does the 2016 presidential election mean for installations?
- Is a BRAC round really inevitable and, if so, what will it take to secure Congress’ approval?
- How would a new BRAC round impact the budget challenges that installations are facing today?
- What does the Base of the Future look like in the context of constrained budgets, declining force structure and new global threats?
- How much of a transformation will be required to reach the Base of the Future?
At the end of the session, which will be moderated by Tim Ford, CEO of ADC, the panelists will take questions from the audience.