Navy Stands Apart On BRAC, Shared Services
Defense Communities 360
June 23, 2013
It’s not quite like Goldilocks and the Three Bears — the Army and Air Force both believe their infrastructure is too large. But for the Navy, it’s just right.
At the Defense Communities National Summit earlier this month, Roger Natsuhara, the Navy’s acting assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment, drew a sharp distinction between recent trends facing the Army and the Air Force, and the Navy. While the force structure of the other two services has declined since the last base closure round, or is slated to, the Navy’s has not.
As a result, the Navy isn’t desperate for the opportunity to trim its property holdings in a new BRAC round as the other two services are, Natsuhara said. “We think we’re about right. … Nothing jumps out for us [in terms of excess capacity],” he said.
Similarly, when the topic of section 331 — the new authority allowing an installation to enter into an intergovernmental support agreement with a local government to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions — came up, Natsuhara also said the Navy wasn’t particularly interested.
The service historically has contracted out most of its installation support services through large, bundled procurements. “It will be tough for cities to compete,” he explained, although they would be welcome to compete in the future.
For the Navy to enter into support agreements with its host communities for a relatively small number of municipal functions “would be stepping back,” Natsuhara said.
In contrast, the installation chiefs for the Army and Air Force both outlined ambitious plans to take advantage of the new authority as a way to trim the cost of providing base support in the midst of growing fiscal constraints.