Letter to The Chairmen and Ranking Members of The House and Senate Armed Services Committees - Duckworth, Bustos, Loebsack, Durbin, Grassley and Ernst Lead Bi-Partisan, Bicameral Modernization Effort to Utilize Unused Army Property
Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members,
We urge you and the conferees to retain Section 1767 of H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. Sec. 1767 is the result of a bipartisan effort to modernize the real-estate management of the Army's sprawling properties and will help the Army become a more effective fighting force.
Section 1767 would authorize a proof-of-concept: a public tool that catalogs unused real estate across the Army's installations. With this tool, authorized users could query a database for vacant or otherwise surplus space that they could transition towards more productive use. Rather than spending more money on new construction or land purchases, governmental agencies could expand into places with pre-existing infrastructure; vetted private-sector or academic organizations could work and research alongside the bright men and women of the United States Army. Formerly empty plots could witness the birth of new synergies and collaboration.
If successful, this pilot program could quickly be adopted across the Department of Defense, turning a small investment now into potentially millions of dollars in savings later. Until then however, countless acres and buildings sit idly by across the enterprise. As responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, we must capitalize upon these untapped resources. We thank you for your work so far on this year's National Defense Authorization Act, and we look forward to working with you and your Committees on finding ways to make the military more efficient.