Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment testifies before the House
March 14, 2013
- Record Version of the statement by Hon. Katherine Hammack before the U.S. House Representatives, House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness, First Session, 113th Congress, 14 March 2013.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (14 March 2013) -- The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment testified before the House Armed Services Committee on future Base Realignment and Closures.
In addressing the U.S. House Representatives, House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Readiness, First Session, 113th Congress, the Hon. Katherine Hammack began by thanking Chairman Rob Wittman (VA-1), Ranking Member Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, and other distinguished Members of the committee, for allowing the opportunity to discuss the need for infrastructure realignments and perhaps to clarify a little about the 2005 BRAC round from an Army perspective.
She said, "First of all, the Budget Control Act of 2011 significantly reduced future Army budgets. These reductions, placed alongside lower demand for Army forces in Afghanistan and a new national defense strategy, have placed the Army on a path to reduce its active duty end strength from 570,000 in fiscal year 2010 to 490,000 by fiscal year 2017. This is a reduction of 80,000 Soldiers or approximately 14 percent from the active component."
"These end strength and force structure reductions will affect every installation in the Army. And these reductions are already programmed into the Army budgets. Additional reductions to the Army budget of the magnitude associated with sequestration may drive our active component end strength down below 490,000."
"Just as a piece of information, the only time the Army has been lower than 480,000 was prior to World War II in 1940. And, frankly, I don't believe the world has gotten any smaller or any safer since that point in time."
"As the first step in the process of major force structure reductions, the Army published a Programmatic Environmental Assessment or a PEA as part of the National Environmental Policy Act, on January 19, 2013. That PEA identified 21 installations that have the potential to be impacted by our force structure reductions."
"A PEA analyzes both environmental and socioeconomic factors that could impact those 21 installations. Due to the responses that we got both from Members of Congress and from those communities, instead of that PEA closing on February 19, we have extended the comment period by another 30 days. Currently, it is scheduled to close on March 21, 2013."
"To your point, Chairman Wittman, the Army has not yet conducted any capacity analysis to determine the level of excess infrastructure that would be created as a result of our force structure reductions. That would begin with a comprehensive installation inventory once we determine where we're going to take this force structure changes."
"The Army will conduct a rigorous analysis to identify the excess infrastructure and prudently align supporting civilian personnel with reduced force structure and our reduced industrial base design."
"We will inactivate at least eight brigade combat teams (BCT) and possibly more. While the U.S. based BCT decisions and locations have not yet been made, two of these BCT inactivation decisions have already been announced in Europe and are in the process of being implemented."
"Putting force structure reductions into a facility context, I want you to consider that a brigade combat team takes up about 1.4 million square feet of space. In today's dollars it costs about $350 million to build. Inactivating six or more brigade combat teams in the United States depends upon several variables, but inevitably that will generate excess infrastructure measured in hundreds of thousands of square feet."
"At our overseas installations as Mr. Conger mentioned, the Army has already made strides in consolidating our facilities. Since 2001, we have reduced our end strength and force structure in Europe by over 45 percent. Correspondingly, that resulted in a 51 percent reduction in infrastructure, 58 percent reduction in civilian staffing and 57 percent reduction in base operations. These are our projections that will be in effect by the end of fiscal year 2017."
"The story in Korea is similar. Significant declines in soldiers supported a consolidation of garrisons and sites and resulted in thousands of acres of property returned to host nation. Although elimination of infrastructure was one objective of the BRAC 2005 round, the Army focus was aligning our infrastructure with our military strategy to enhance war-fighting capacity and efficiency."
"So in 2001 -- before the 9/11 attack -- the Army end strength was 480,000 with 62,000 Soldiers in Europe or 13 percent in Europe. By the end of fiscal '17, forces in Europe will be 30,000 which is less than 6 percent of the Army's end strength."
"The Army used the BRAC 2005 round as a vehicle to meet our wartime needs, to move Soldiers home from overseas and to maximize military value and capability. But given those stated goals, the BRAC 2005 round was a success to the Army. It produced reoccurring savings for the army of more than $1 billion annually."
"The 2005 round was also very successful for our guard and our reserve units which used the BRAC 2005 process to consolidate into areas of growing populations where recruiting and demographic needs are greater. They are now realizing benefits of consolidation, recapitalization, more jointness, and enhanced operational readiness."
"I want to bring to light two additional areas concerned that we have right now and I'm sure on your minds, too. One of which is a continuing resolution where currently the Army's operations and maintenance account is underfunded by $6 billion. This account directly supports our worldwide operations, base operating support and facility sustainment at all of our posts and stations."
"Compounding the $6 billion problem is the cost of the war in Afghanistan which actually increases at the end of a war as you spend money to bring home equipment and reset or fix that material. If you look at both Korea and Vietnam, you will see that the cost increased at the end of the war. The same is true of Afghanistan."
"Afghanistan is a land-locked country and ground transportation out of that country is currently limited. That means we have to airlift the equipment there to bring it back home. And the cost of airlift is exceeding our budget expectations."
"This $6 billion incremental cost this year is necessary to enable us to wind down operations. Sequestration is on top of us and I don't need to tell you how devastating that is. I have met with many of you individually and helped you to understand the impact that has to the Army."
"As the Army force structure declines in the U.S., we do have facility overheads and infrastructure and civilian support staff that remain constant. Our investments in equipment, training, and maintenance then become distorted. Over time, these distortions in investments and spending will contribute to a hallow Army."
Hammack closed, saying, "Unless we have relief from the Defense budget cuts of 2011 and sequestration, we have no other choice but to reduce our infrastructure in line with force reductions. Thank you for your attention and I look forward to your questions."