Installations in Support of the Army at War

Article excerpt

A nation at war demands the total dedication of its citizens and soldiers. U.S. Army soldiers engaged in the global war on terrorism are meeting this demand with both courage and compassion. As they train to meet tomorrow's challenges and deploy as an expeditionary force, the Army remains dedicated to their quality of life and well-being and that of their fami lies and the civilian workforce on Army installations. Our responsibilities to the American people and to Army soldiers are unmistakable: we must transform Army installations while staying relevant and ready to meet tomorrow's challenges.

Our goal in the Office of the Assistant secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment (ASA I&E) is to build and manage installations as flagships to meet the Army's long-standing dedication to the needs of soldiers. Our goal is to build modern, comfortable homes for all Army families, expand the capabilities of training areas, renovate and build barracks, and successfully manage environmental issues inherent to operating Army power-projection platforms. ASA I&E's efforts to transform the Army into the ideal joint partner and expeditionary force include participation in the DoD base realignment and closure (BRAC) process, which will prove invaluable to streamlining operations and providing a cost-effective defense to American taxpayers. BRAC 2005 will create a network of installations that will enable Army forces to better station, train, deploy and operate as part of a joint team.

The Army recently identified key focus areas to win the global war on terrorism and to increase the Army's relevance and readiness. The installations as flagships focus area will enhance the ability of Army installations to project power and support families. Soldiers train, mobilize and deploy from installations, and expeditionary forces are sustained as they reach back to installations for enhanced support. The Army has a robust military construction (MILCON) budget of $3.7 billion (13 percent over the fiscal year 2004 amended budget request) that will fund the highest priority active, National Guard and Army Reserve facilities along with family housing, including:

* New barracks for 4,200 soldiers.

* On-post family housing for 14,200 families.

* Increased funding, more than last year's request, for Army reserve component needs.

* New centers for more than 3,000 National Guard and 2,800 Army Reserve soldiers.

* A $287 million investment in training ranges.

* A battalion-size basic combat training complex.

* Facilities support and improvement for four Stryker brigade combat teams.

As a responsible steward, ASA I&E is looking for avenues other than traditional appropriated funding to resource improvements on Army installations. Enhanced use leases (EUL) and real property exchanges (RPX) are examples of how we are leveraging other resources to improve installations. The Army is pursuing EUL under the recently expanded authority of Title 10 U.S. Code, in an effort to maximize the utility and value of available real property assets. The ability to apply cash consideration to an expanded list of base operating functions and the ability to accept a wider array of in-kind services make leasing an important tool for improving facilities and services and reducing infrastructure costs. The RPX program provides land and new Army Reserve facilities where we have aging facilities in high-cost areas where we can no longer adequately train. Under this program, the Army receives no less than the fair market value of the real property asset being conveyed by the Army as part of the exchange. In addition, the Army has eliminated excess/surplus infrastructure by disposing of a record 131,469 acres of real property in fiscal year (FY) 2003 using all available disposal authorities. This single-year disposal is almost as much property as was disposed of in the previous 12 years. …