U.S. Will 'Reposition' Overseas Footprint Before BRAC Cuts at Home
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2003 Although many in the standing-room-only audience expected to hear the Army's plans for the next Base Realignment and Closure round scheduled for 2005, Raymond DuBois, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, said that for now, the major issue concerning the Pentagon is the military's global footprint overseas.
DuBois spoke at the Association of the U.S. Army convention here Oct. 6.
The BRAC process has become an important part of the military's transformation efforts, he said, as the Pentagon tries to eliminate excess capacity and infrastructure and free up funds for those installations that will be vital to the war on terrorism and future warfighting efforts.
"The secretary of defense promised the Congress of the United States that he would rearrange his overseas footprint before he began to rearrange his domestic footprint," DuBois said during his briefing on installations and transformation at the convention.
DuBois said the reason behind the secretary's decision to focus on its "overseas footprint" is because the terrorism threat to the United States is "clearly more global than ever before."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld left this week for Denver, where he is meeting with NATO representatives to discuss the global basing requirements facing the United States and its allies.
"Secretary Rumsfeld knows that in order to fight and deter that global threat, we've got to have a repositioning of our global footprint," he said. Just this week, he said, the Pentagon announced it was moving forces in South Korea away from the capital of Seoul.
Describing the global basing issue facing the Pentagon as "very, very" crucial, DuBois noted the 2004 budget was "reprioritized" to shift and realign millions of dollars in military construction funds away from what he calls 'nonenduring" overseas bases -- those bases where the military's long-term presence is questionable -- to installations that will fulfill critical operational, logistical or training mission requirements, which he said are "key to (the U.S) global basing posture."
Using Germany as an example, DuBois said that in fiscal 2003 and 2004, the Pentagon canceled 26 military construction projects worth some $280 million. That money was then funneled to 18 new projects in the United States.
"For anyone in the media or anyone in Congress to suggest that we didn't make some serious decision or move some serious money is incorrect," he said.
DuBois also noted that in South Korea, construction money was diverted from nonenduring installations there to Camp Humphries, a base he said will be "central" to future U.S. strategy.
President Bush's $87 billion supplemental spending request includes $412 million for military construction, DuBois said, with the Army slated for $120 million to replace and rebuild "aged or almost nonexistent" infrastructure for deployed U.S. soldiers.
DuBois explained that when the military deploys, the local community's infrastructure supports the military's need for portable water, sewage, and electric power. And in the case of Iraq, where that infrastructure has been "problematic at best," he said, it is "imperative" that the U.S. military doesn't "pull away" in terms of the civilian infrastructure in that country.
"He said every megawatt of electricity U.S. forces uses in Iraq takes about 1,000 Iraqi homes out of the power grid. "So you can see it is to our advantage, both militarily and from a civilian reconstruction standpoint, to spend these precious dollars on water, sewage (and) electricity for our military, specifically for Army troops in Iraq," DuBois said.