Resourcing the Army Home: Installation funding levels on the decline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In recent years, the Army and its installations have enjoyed unprecedented levels of funding. In fiscal year 2008, the Army hit a high water mark in its fiscal history with a total annual budget exceeding $250 billion — three times more than the FY 2001 funding level.

 Much of this growth is attributed to funding the war, rebalancing our Army through investments in the Army’s force structure, equipment, infrastructure, and key Soldier and family programs.

Funding levels of this magnitude are unsustainable year after the year and, as the country faces some stiff economic challenges, we are forced to reduce funding and exact a greater level of stewardship over our resources. 

The Installation Management Command — like other commands throughout our Army — will operate at reduced funding levels. This means that starting in 2010, performance levels for some installation services will be notably less than what we have had in recent years and will remain at that level for the foreseeable future.

Our challenge is to ensure those key, higher-priority programs across our installations do not suffer. We will maintain our full support to life, health and safety programs, the Army Family Covenant and those services that prepare our Soldiers and their families for deployment in support of the Army’s Force Generation model.
These are non-negotiables that will remain fully funded. This is our commitment; we will not depart from it. However, there will be other installation services that will clearly be reduced.

We have grown accustomed to some very high levels of service across the board in recent years and we all need to be forthcoming with the expectation that things will be different in some areas. Help manage this expectation across your garrisons. Educate everyone as to which changes they can expect to see. A simple explanation can go a long way to helping understand the changes some of our installation services will undergo.

Across the Army’s installations, we can do much to help ourselves by becoming better stewards of our resources. It starts with the individual; everybody has a role. Simple things like turning the lights off, powering down your computer at night, driving tactical vehicles instead of transportation motor pool vehicles or conducting a video teleconference instead of traveling to a distant site unnecessarily all save money — and no amount of savings is too small to forego.

Commanders and leaders across the installation have a key role and are responsible for the efficient use of our resources. Costs should be an inherent consideration in your every decision. We too often marginalize this key factor in making good, resource-informed decisions, but we can no longer afford to do so. 

As I travel throughout the Army community, I carry the message that we can do business smarter and more efficiently without sacrificing the quality of service that our Soldiers and their families so richly deserve.

I challenge everyone to do the same: to work together to ensure that those key installation programs that mean so much are well resourced and operated, and that we do away with wasteful and unnecessary spending.

Every person — whether you are a Soldier, family member, one of our great Department of the Army civilians or a contractor serving our Army — is needed and can make a difference.

Ask yourself if you are doing the right things and if you are doing them right. Doing things right means doing them in the most cost-efficient way, without sacrificing effectiveness.