DoD Official: Years of Sequestration Caused Need for Larger Budget
Though the increased funding in the fiscal year 2019 budget deal is welcome, it will not fully restore the damage to DoD facilities caused by years of sequestration spending cuts, a senior Defense Department official told Congress today.
Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, testified at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies.
Many DoD facilities have degraded significantly from reduced investments, and the department has a $116 billion backlog in facilities requiring attention, Niemeyer said. “A lot of our facilities are either in fail or poor condition,” he told the House panel. “This will ultimately result in the DoD facing larger bills in the future to go ahead to restore or replace facilities that deteriorate prematurely. The stark reality is that it is too costly to buy ourselves out of this this backlog.”
Niemeyer said he and his team set forth strategic goals to confront the challenges posed by years of underfunded facilities and infrastructure accounts:
-- Find new innovations and avenues to eliminate waste in DoD installations and infrastructure;
-- Continue to ask for adequate funding for installation and infrastructure accounts to meet mission requirements and to address risks to safety and readiness;
-- Protect test and training ranges from incompatible development, along with being able to properly train troops by simulating different terrains from around the world;
-- Implement programs to ensure the mission through energy-resilient forces and facilities;
-- Seek new opportunities for third-party partnerships;
-- Work with the military contract community to develop smarter contracts and manage contracts smartly;
-- Provide for the safety and welfare of the department’s people and resources through premier environmental stewardship and occupational safety programs; and
-- Collaborate with the communities around the nation providing for quality of life for troops and their families.
“These guiding principles will allow us to ply the resources requested in the [fiscal year 2019] budget to achieve real results,” Niemeyer said.