Army Footprint-Reduction Effort Bears Fruit

Army leadership still believes it could realize considerable savings by closing underused installations and liquidating properties that are not used altogether. Nevertheless, the Army is undertaking efforts to make the best of the situation. Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham, the service’s assistant chief of staff for installation management, believes the enterprise is fostering some “positive results,” the Association for the U.S. Army (AUSA) reported July 5 on its web site.

Bingham still believes that the quickest way to realize efficiencies is another round of BRAC (base closure and realignment).

“There is not a direct, one-to-one relationship between the operating cost of an installation and the square footage of facilities or the number of people working and living there,” Bingham told a Senate panel recently.

She urged lawmakers to approve “a modest reduction of 4 to 5 percent excess capability while allowing for the preservation of some surge capability to adapt to changing conditions.”

While Congress has been reluctant to approve base closures BRAC commissions have met five times between 1988 and 2005.

AUSA’s readers who reacted to the article said that any base closures should take into consideration the effect they have on local communities, which depend upon the posts to support their economies.

“A sudden cost-effective axe fall would cause unconscionable secondary effects on the economy. They should not be done without [considering] the impact on the surrounding population of citizens we are sworn by the Constitution to defend,” one reader wrote.

Another respondent suggested that Army leaders should ask field- and company-grade officers and non-commissioned officers for their input.

“Some of the best ideas for cost-cutting usually come from battalion and company level. This is where we need to start,” said the writer.