The Army’s real property footprint can be expected to evolve incrementally as past decisions about the role of the service’s installations continue to exert a critical influence on its infrastructure, according to an appendix in the Army’s new strategic framework for supporting its installation requirements.
But several changes already are shaping the installation of the future, starting with a trend toward greater outsourcing for both installation and mission support activities. The extent to which an installation can rely on the surrounding community for support services — including housing, childcare, recreation and retail — will depend on local conditions. While quality-of-life for soldiers and their families needs to be considered, “managers should ensure that facilities on post are supporting needed missions, rather than needlessly duplicating existing off-post capabilities,” states Army Installations 2025.
In cases when the Army decides to provide facilities for a particular service, officials should consider locations that will accommodate future outsourcing or public use, it adds. The same considerations should apply to decisions about the location of mission support facilities operated by contractors. Mission infrastructure that is not unique to the Army — such as offices and R&D facilities — likely will continue to be built and owned by the government. “Nevertheless, consideration should be given to future reuse scenarios, as well as the potential provision of facilities or services by the private sector,” according to the vision document.
Planners also will need to account for the increased interest by communities in sharing municipal services and other resources.
Access and security are other critical factors in installation planning. “Some facilities can be considered for placement outside the secure perimeter, or can be planned for future divestment by moving the perimeter,” the document states.
While urban development increasingly comes into conflict with the mission at many installations, changes in weapons systems and other mission requirements can be expected to strain Army ranges and training areas. With opportunities to expand installations uncertain in the short term, the Army will need to focus on retaining existing capabilities and resolving potential land use conflicts with their host communities, the document concludes.