A new Rand Corp. research report, “Improving Army Installation Facility and Land Use Deals and Partnerships,” advocates that these agreements can provide installations with major benefits such as cost savings to improve installation operations, according to the study’s introductory synopsis.
The partnerships that often produce the most financial benefits involve installation real estate, buildings, and other facilities (such as air fields), generating significant revenue and saved substantial funds for some military installations, the synopsis said.
The report explores that Army installations have faced significant budget cuts and need to maintain operations and even enhance installation readiness despite declining budgets, advocating that real estate deals or facility-sharing partnerships may be a way for the Army to save and earn revenue.
However, the Army has taken limited use of these approaches, partly because of barriers including time-consumption, complexity, resource-intensity, and requiring significant local knowledge and community and partner communication. Development and implementation also often require installation financial, legal, contracting, real estate, engineering, and other expertise and resources, which are not always readily available, the report maintains.
The report assesses installation real estate and facility deals and partnerships, including large-scale leasing deals (sometimes called enhanced use leases [EULs]), and provides recommendations to improve savings, enhance installation operations and readiness, and increase other benefits.
Here are the report’s recommendations:
- The Army should provide strong leadership support and revise Army policies to develop and implement more large-scale outgrants and facility partnerships. The Army should create more incentives for installations to do outgrants by aligning and balancing incentives across different levels of the Army, including considering changing policy so installations receive more than 50 percent of the outgrant proceeds.
- For joint facility and infrastructure partnerships, the Army should change its master planning and real property policies to give greater weight to infrastructure and facility sharing partnerships in facility planning and decision-making, especially when facing a facility investment decision point.
- The Army should outreach more and work more closely with state and local governments and other community members to implement more facility sharing partnerships, large-scale outgrants (such as EULs), and other installation facility and land use deals.
- Because many installations’ staff lack experience and knowledge about these approaches, the Army should provide written, in-depth case studies and lessons learned from Army and other federal installation facility sharing and land use partnership and outgrant experiences and develop templates and fact sheets for them. The Army should also provide enhanced centralized assistance for large-scale outgrants.
- At the installation level when developing a shared facility/infrastructure partnership, installation managers should cultivate support from key leaders, stakeholder organizations, and individuals, and develop champions; secure up-front resource investments for development and implementation; develop a communications strategy for the change that addresses partnership staff, leaders, and other stakeholders; and implement incentives and other methods in the process to minimize the impact of change on staff.
- Last, the leasing process for large-scale leases should be simplified. Legislative and Army policy changes are needed to allow installations to acquire the revenues and in-kind considerations more easily and more quickly. Changes are also needed in the fair market value land assessments and scoring processes.