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Brigade shuffle to save $400M in construction

Funds for housing jump nearly tenfold

Jul. 14, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Money for military construction will be cut $600 million in the coming year, but Army cuts will run far deeper. While the Navy gets a $200 million boost and the Air Force will see a $700 million bump, the total force Army will see a cut of more than $1.2 billion. Shown is Fort Wainwright's Bassett Army Community Hospital in Alaska. Wainwright is slated to get $45 million for an aviation battalion complex and $58 million for an aviation storage hangar.
Money for military construction will be cut $600 million in the coming year, but Army cuts will run far deeper. While the Navy gets a $200 million boost and the Air Force will see a $700 million bump, the total force Army will see a cut of more than $1.2 billion. Shown is Fort Wainwright's Bassett Army Community Hospital in Alaska. Wainwright is slated to get $45 million for an aviation battalion complex and $58 million for an aviation storage hangar. (USACE)
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Money for military construction will be cut $600 million in the coming year, but Army cuts will run far deeper. While the Navy gets a $200 million boost and the Air Force will see a $700 million bump, the total force Army will see a cut of more than $1.2 billion.

Both sides of Congress support a $10 billion military construction package. That is down from the $10.6 billion authorized this year, $2.4 billion less than the year prior and a 43 percent drop from the $18.7 authorized for fiscal 2011.

While the active-duty Army will see the most money cut from its coffers, the Guard and Reserve will lose a larger ratio.

Army construction is set at $1.1 billion, which is $800 million less than the approved amount for this year. The Guard stands to get $316 million, which is nearly a $300 million drop from this year. And the Reserve will see funds drop from $306 million in fiscal 2013 to $174 million next year.

Not all of the cuts are due to a tight budget. The Army deferred many fiscal 2013 projects as the service prepared to restructure brigade combat teams. There was no need to build facilities for units that might move or deactivate. The effort has paid off. Service leaders were able to cut $400 million from this year’s construction request. That leaves projects valued at $388 million, which the Army will re-evaluate for inclusion in future budget cycles, said Dave Foster, an Army spokesman.

And there is some good news: Money for Army family housing will jump from $4.5 million this year to $44 million in fiscal 2014. The service also will receive $513 million for family housing operation and maintenance, a drop of $17 million. That money will be divided among three locations. Fort McCoy, Wis., will get $23 million to build 56 new housing units. South Camp Vilseck, Germany, will get $16.6 million for 29 new housing units. The remaining $4.4 million is designated for a classified location.

In addition, millions of defense construction dollars will be spent on Army posts. More than $222 million will be spent to upgrade, expand or replace Department of Defense Education Activity schools at Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Campbell, Ky. and Fort Bragg, N.C.

Another $265 million will build an ambulatory health center at Fort Knox, Ky., while Fort Bliss, Texas, will get $252 million for its continuing hospital replacement.

Special operations forces will get more than $183 million at Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Campbell; and Fort Bragg. The latter is the big winner as Bragg stands to get a civil affairs battalion annex, combat medic skills sustainment course building, engineer training facility, language and cultural center and upgrades to the training facility.

Highlights from the Army construction account include:

■ Fort Wainwright, Alaska — $45 million for an aviation battalion complex and $58 million for an aviation storage hangar.

■ Fort Carson — $242 million for two aircraft maintenance hangars, a central energy plant, fire station, headquarters building, runway and simulator building.

■ Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. — $4.7 million for an automated sniper field fire range.

■ Fort Gordon, Ga. — $61 million for Advanced Individual Training barracks complex.

■ Fort Shafter, Hawaii — $65 million for a command-and-control facility.

■ Fort Leavenworth, Kan. — $17 million for a simulations center.

■ Fort Campbell — $4.8 million for a battlefield weather support facility.

■ Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. — $86 million for AIT barracks complex.

■ Fort Bliss — $10.8 million for a control tower and $36 million for an unmanned aerial vehicle complex.

■ Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. — $50 million for AIT barracks complex.

■ Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. — $144 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar, airfield operations complex and aviation battalion complex.

Highlights from the Army Guard and Reserve construction accounts include:

■ $93.7 million for improvements to Guard readiness centers in seven states.

■ Fort Chaffee, Ark. — $21 million for a Scout/Recce Gunnery Complex.

■ Kankakee, Ill. — $28 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar and a readiness center.

■ Macon, Mo. — $9 million for a vehicle maintenance shop.

■ Whiteman AFB, Mo. — $5 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar.

■ Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. — $40 million for an aircraft maintenance instructional building.

■ Greenville, S.C. — $13 million for a vehicle maintenance shop.

■ $82 million for improvements to reserve centers in four states.

■ Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. — $16.5 million for The Army School System Training Center.

■ Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst, N.J. — $36 million for an automated multipurpose machine gun, central issue facility, consolidated dining facility and modified record fire range.

■ Fort McCoy — $23.4 million for an access control point/mail/freight center and a Noncommissioned Officer Academy dining facility.

The House and Senate approved their respective defense bills in June. The legislative bodies will hash out differences this year and give the president a defense bill that, if approved, will become the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

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