Downsizing in Afghanistan and Back Home

Gen. Dennis Via, commander of the Army Materiel Command, said July 23 his efforts to improve efficiency as he downsizes his vast industrial complex in pace with the Army’s deep force structure cuts are handicapped by the inability to close facilities. Congress has rejected repeated Pentagon requests for another base realignment and closure (BRAC) round, which the Air Force and Army have said is needed to shed excess infrastructure. Via said his command is working to consolidate, and in some cases mothball, production and refit facilities as the Army reduces equipment after 13 years of war. But that leaves unused facilities that are expensive to maintain, he said. Via also described AMC’s massive process to withdraw Army equipment from Afghanistan. He said the Army has decided to return $10 billion of the $15 billion in vehicles and other equipment in Afghanistan. The remainder will be given away, sold to allies, or broken up to sell as scrap because it is not needed, is worn out, or would be too expensive to ship home. “I am comfortable, as a taxpayer, with the system to determine what to bring back,” he said.