Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, U.S. Army assistant chief of staff for installation management, has told lawmakers that the Army needs another round of base realignment and closure, or BRAC, to remove excess facilities and redirect maintenance funds toward other readiness efforts.
Bingham told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies that the Army pays to maintain approximately 161 million square feet of excess infrastructure, the Army said Thursday.
She added that another round of BRAC would eliminate the need to maintain excess infrastructure and allow the Army to use cost savings to repair needed facilities and support readiness priorities.
“The Army has infrastructure capacity in excess of any foreseeable future force structure, not always located where it is needed, but consuming precious dollars that could be better invested elsewhere,” Bingham stated.
The Army’s fiscal year 2018 budget request allots $1.79 billion for facilities — including $1.2 billion for military construction, $529 million for family housing and $58 million for the execution of the last BRAC round, which started in 2005.
Bingham said the budget request is lower than what the Army needs but could help mitigate the accelerated degradation of the military branch’s facilities.
The Army faces $10.8 billion in deferred maintenance backlog, which accounts for approximately 22 percent of the the service’s buildings and means that more than one in five buildings are deteriorating.
Bingham told senators the Army works to sustain facilities in good condition to prevent degradation; apply resources to modernize or demolish facilities; and consolidate personnel into well-maintained facilities then eliminate deteriorated buildings under the Reduce the Footprint initiative.