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Hammack: Balance Needed Between Army Resources and Requirements

Thursday, March 12, 2015

“The Army is now operating on multiple continents simultaneously in ways that were unforeseen a year ago,” said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army (installations, energy and environment), March 10 in Arlington, Va.

Even as demand for Army forces grows, she said, budget cuts continue to increase.

Speaking at the Association of the United States Army’s Installation Management Hot Topic forum, Hammack said, “The fiscal challenges General Sullivan [AUSA President] has talked about, brought on by the Budget Control Act, or sequestration, strain our ability to bring into balance readiness, modernization and end strength.”

 “So we face a mismatch between requirements and resources available,” Hammack said to the standing room only audience.

"The Budget Control Act creates risk for sending insufficiently trained and under-equipped soldiers into harm's way - and that is not a risk this nation should accept,” she said.

“We believe that we can address many of these challenges, and achieve stability and sustainability,” Hammack said, but only when critical resources are in balance.

One critical initiative is the Facility Investment Strategy to maintain Army installations, said Hammack. 

The Army Facility Investment Strategy consists of four main tenets:

-        Sustain required facilities

-        Dispose of excess facilities

-        Improve existing facility quality

-        Build out critical facility shortfalls

Hammack said that practical impacts of the strategy include one square foot of demolition for every square foot of construction on Army installations, and renovating existing facilities for new missions wherever possible.

In order for the Army to optimize resources, it is important to eliminate unneeded infrastructure. “We need another round of base realignment and closure [BRAC] in 2017,” Hammack said. 

“It is really a way to manage infrastructure that is left over from World War II when we were an Army of 8 million. As we shrink to an Army of 490,000 or smaller, we see a growth in excess infrastructure.  At an Army of 490,000, our excess infrastructure is 18 percent,” she said.

“And that number is going to be growing.”

Army budgets have been on a steady decline, Hammack said, “yet the number of installations remains the same. Again, resources and requirements are out of balance.”

That problem needs to be addressed to ensure long-term support for soldiers and families.

“We need the AUSA community to join in our request to enable the Army to manage our infrastructure in line with our budgets,” Hammack said.

This AUSA Hot Topic was sponsored by Corvias Military Living, an AUSA sustaining member.