Greater Collaboration across the Fence Line Is Key to Achieving Base of

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR States and communities have a significant role to play in helping military installations adapt to a variety of challenges — including budget constraints, aging infrastructure, evolving missions and weapons systems, and a generational changes in social attitudes — prompting DOD to consider a new model for delivering installation support, according to a new paper released by the Association of Defense Communities.The Base of the Future: A Call for Action by States and Communities outlines a multi-pronged approach to foster increased collaboration between installations and their host communities. The paper is a synthesis of panel discussions and breakout sessions held during ADC’s Nov. 5, 2015, policy forum titled “Concepts, Strategies and Actions for Moving to the Base of the Future.” The forum featured more than 120 experts from DOD, state and local government, industry and the United Kingdom.Due to the unique circumstances of installation-community relationships, it is not possible to develop a single, unified vision for the Base of the Future, the paper emphasizes.Defense communities should better integrate local installations into their planning efforts. Treating the assets of installations — including underutilized facilities, industrial capacity and land — as part of the overall public infrastructure would benefit all stakeholders by providing increased economic opportunities, enhancing quality of life and lowering the military’s support costs, according to the paper.In a similar fashion, increased collaboration between installations and communities could improve the effectiveness of joint land use studies and other efforts to address incompatible land uses around bases and ranges by more closely linking the recommendations of such studies to community planning activities.DOD should increasingly rely on local governments and the private sector to deliver a range of services, including facility maintenance, health care, family services, utilities, and recreation and education facilities.“Expanded use of public-public and public-private partnerships should replace many of the service and infrastructure-delivery methods now common on installations,” the paper states.To help the military better understand the benefits of increased engagement with their host communities, the paper calls for ADC to offer training to installation commanders and to reach out to senior civilian employees.The paper also includes a number of specific policy recommendations aimed at eliminating obstacles to closer collaboration:establishing federal directives requiring coordinated planning between installations and neighboring municipalities;expanding DOD’s real estate authorities to cover actions combining facilities leasing and other acquisition mechanisms such as power purchase agreements; andencouraging greater sharing of services and infrastructure to achieve a variety of goals — shrinking mission security footprints, employing shared powers agencies to coordinate the acquisition of goods and services, and rationalizing the federal government’s small business, scoring and personnel policies to spur partnerships.“Achieving the Base of the Future may be impossible, but working cooperatively toward common goals that meet shared needs certainly is not,” the paper states.“Only through communication, coordination and cooperation will all stakeholders in tomorrow’s military base realize its benefits,” it concludes.last_img

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