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Katherine Hammack: Army Faces Base Realignment, Closures Amid Budget Cuts

Katherine Hammack
Katherine Hammack

Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for installations, energy and environment, said in a congressional hearing last week that the service needs to implement base realignment and closures in 2017 to balance costs and readiness.

J.D. Leipold reports Thursday on the Army website that Hammack told the House Armed Services Committee readiness subcommittee that budget cuts have reduced available resources for base support, end strength and modernization.

“Without a BRAC and the realized cost-savings, the only alternative is to make up for shortages in base funding by increasing risk in readiness,” she said.

The Army’s proposed fiscal 2016 budget for military construction is 26 percent greater than the request for fiscal 2015 but still 33 percent less than fiscal 2014, Leipold writes.

Hammack noted that the service’s facility capacity analysis indicates an 18-percent excess in facility capacity when 490,000 active-duty soldiers are cut from the force by the end of this year.

She said the sequestration has also impacted infrastructure sustainment and modernization needs, leading to operating units still using aging facilities.

“As force structures decline, we must right-size the supporting infrastructure and achieve a balance between the cost of sustaining infrastructure and Army readiness,” Hammack told the panel.

She said in an interview with Federal News Radio last year that state governors and Congress are open to potential realignment or closures of some Army bases.

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