By J.D. LeipoldOctober 29, 2013
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 29, 2013) -- Now is the time for the Army to increase partnerships with the private sector in areas such as renewable energy products, family services to housing, and other installation infrastructure elements, Army leaders say.
"When we partner with industry, we're able to focus limited appropriated funds on our core competencies ... training and equipping ... by letting the private sector help us in maintaining and operating our bases," said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
Hammack led a panel discussion last week about creating efficiencies and synergies through public-private partnerships. The panel was part of the 2013 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., which ran Oct. 21-23.
Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, director, Installation Management Command, discussed one of the most visible examples of public-private partnerships in the Army, the Residential Communities Initiative, or RCI.
"Through the RCI, the Army has privatized more than 86,000 housing units at 44 of our installations," Ferriter said. "Through the RCI program, the Army received $13.2 billion in family housing development, which is about a seven-to-one leverage of government equity."
Ferriter said another success within his portfolio is the privatization of Army lodging, or PAL, facilities.
The Army has privatized 11,700 rooms at 39 installations throughout the United States. Like family housing, the Army contributed only the existing facilities and no occupancy guarantees.
"Through PAL, the Army will receive $1.1 billion in private funds for lodging redevelopment over eight years. In the next 18 months, PAL will deliver five new and 17 renovated hotels, which will increase the number of guest rooms from 1,277 to 4,260," he said.
Ferriter said room rates for stays in the privatized lodging come in at about 75 percent of the normal per diem rate. That has saved the Army about $86 million each year.