PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, listens to Col. Scott Armstrong, Project Manager for Soldier Weapons, (right) as he explains how optics are mounted on the M4A1 rifle as Brig. Gen. John McGuiness, Picatinny commanding general, looks on.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- The biggest challenge the Army presently faces is how to manage manpower needs while maintaining military readiness, the Army's top real estate executive said today during a short visit to the Rockaway Township military base.

"We all expected that a military draw down from Afghanistan wouldn't affect military readiness if done systematically said Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. "But," she added, "what many didn't realize is that it takes money to save money."

Hammock said the withdrawal goes beyond pulling troops back stateside.

"It's just like when we came out of Vietnam. There is a cost to reset. You have to bring all that equipment back, and unfortunately this will be felt by just about everyone and one of those effects is the furloughs that will begin in July."

During the visit, Hammack was shown a number of important Picatinny programs supporting U.S. war fighters as well as some of the installation's energy reduction and environmental initiatives.

"I am pleased to see that there is a tremendous effort on energy savings here at Picatinny and that those efforts are not necessarily new -- you've been doing them for years," she told Picatinny officials before her departure.

She also took part in a live-fire demonstration of the Army's newest 5.56mm ammunition, the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR).

The EPR is an environmentally-friendly projectile that eliminates up to 2,000 tons of lead from the manufacturing process each year in direct support of the Army's commitment to environmental stewardship.

Hammack was appointed to her position by President Obama in June 2010. She is responsible for policy and oversight of sustainability and environmental initiatives; resource management, including design, military construction, operations, and maintenance; base realignment and closure (BRAC) law; privatization of Army family housing, lodging, real estate, and utilities; and the Army's installations safety and occupational health programs.

Picatinny is one of the top employers in Northern New Jersey employing more than 5,680 Department of Defense civilians, contractors and active duty military personnel. It is the home of the DOD Joint Center of Excellence for Armaments and Munitions.

Page last updated Thu June 20th, 2013 at 00:00