Building Maintenance Aids Army Modernization

Building Maintenance Aids Army Modernization

Soldier performing building maintenance
Photo by: U.S. Army/Kevin C Mcdevitt

Addressing the Army’s building maintenance backlog supports the force’s modernization and readiness goals, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

While the report found that “most of the Army’s buildings do not require any renovation or modernization to support the functions for which they are being used,” those facilities may need to be upgraded as the Army modernizes.

“The Army has ongoing programs to develop new weapon systems and may need to upgrade or modernize its facilities to accommodate those systems,” the report says.

The CBO report, titled “The Army’s Costs to Eliminate Its Deferred Maintenance Backlog and to Renovate and Modernize Its Buildings,” looked at 49,000 buildings in use on 88 posts across the U.S. and found the Army faces a $19 billion maintenance backlog. It also found that the cost of renovating and modernizing these buildings would be about $34 billion.

Maintenance work on Army buildings can effectively enhance a building’s capability to support users’ goals. “Renovation and modernization can be used to improve the condition of a degraded building or to modernize it for a different purpose,” the report says. “Unlike normal maintenance and repair, work done to renovate and modernize Army buildings is related to the extent of the degradation of the buildings and the mismatch between the goals of a building’s occupants and its capability to support those goals.”

Some of the building maintenance needs could effectively renovate and modernize the buildings simultaneously, the report found. “Because certain tasks could address both renovation and modernization requirements, the total costs for those activities would be smaller if they were performed concurrently instead of separately,” the report says.

Moving forward, the Army could ensure that building capabilities match units’ needs and construct buildings with multipurpose capabilities. “Fewer renovation and modernization projects could be required if units’ needs were better matched to building capabilities,” the CBO report says. “To the extent possible, the Army could also construct buildings that are more generic, with multipurpose capabilities that could be more easily converted if occupants’ goals changed.”

After two decades of warfighting, the Army is now looking to prioritize its infrastructure. “With everything that we were doing in the last 20 years, where the focus was so much downrange, you know, we probably were not paying as close attention to our own infrastructure as we are right now,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth has said.

Read the report here.