Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army, installation, energy and environment, participates in a forum on creating efficiencies and synergies at the annual meeting of the Association of the US Army at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington on Tuesday. (Mike Morones / Staff)
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WASHINGTON — Congress will eventually authorize another round of base closures to help the US Army cut its costs and shrink its footprint, according to a top Army official.
Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and the environment, said at the annual Association of the United States Army convention here Tuesday that while Congress has opposed setting up a Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) to oversee a new round of base closings, it’s the only way for the Army to substantially cut infrastructure costs amidst falling budgets.
“We have to have to authority to shrink our footprint in accordance with shrinking the number of soldiers,” she said.
She said members of Congress do not want to close installations in their districts, but they will eventually have to give the Army the authority to reduce costs because there is no other way to achieve substantial long-term cuts.
“It’s never a comfortable subject for people to talk about,” Hammack said.
She added that the Army has gone from about 8 million soldiers during World War II to about 450,000 today, and it must close and consolidate bases that it no longer needs.
“We have a lot of World War II infrastructure that we need to shrink,” she said.