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DOD Looks to Replicate European Consolidation in the US

first_imgInstallation officials testifying last year about the Pentagon’s request for a new BRAC round were eager to tell Congress about the European Infrastructure Consolidation plan, as lawmakers previously had insisted the department address its excess capacity overseas before tackling its domestic infrastructure.On Capitol Hill last week, several members of the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee asked the services’ top installation officials about the costs and savings associated with the European consolidation and whether those results could serve as a barometer for the potential payoff from a domestic BRAC.The Air Force — which is responsible for the bulk of the initiative’s actions, including the divestiture of its Royal Air Force Mildenhall facility in the United Kingdom — plans to spend about $1.1 billion and expects to save between $275 million and $300 million annually, Miranda Ballentine, assistant secretary for installations, environment and energy, told the panel.“The process worked. It worked very effectively. And we are not reducing our warfighting capabilities at all. We’re just viewing it more effectively,” Ballentine said in response to a question from Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.).The Army is spending $300 million to implement its portion of the consolidation and estimates it will save $170 million annually, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment.“What we’re going to end up is not zero excess infrastructure, but around 7 percent. And around 7 percent is where we think we can balance surge requirements, we can balance modification to mission requirements. And that’s what we’d like to do in the United States,” Hammack told Jolly.Both officials told Jolly they believed the European consolidation is a good model for a new domestic BRAC round, which the Pentagon has requested be conducted in 2019.Pete Potochney, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, told Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that the department modeled its decision-making process for eliminating excess infrastructure in Europe after BRAC.“We did that on purpose, both as BRAC practice, as you mentioned, training, but also because it’s a good way to look at your infrastructure,” Potochney said.The European consolidation — which calls for the closure of Mildenhall and 14 other facilities — will be carried out over the next several years, according to Potochney’s written testimony. The initiative is projected to generate $500 million in annual recurring savings across all services.Written testimony and a webcast of the hearing on the installations, environment and energy budget request for fiscal 2017 submitted by DOD and the military services are available on the committee website. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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