Army bases face funding gap this year

Army leaders are scrubbing the service's budget to figure out how to shift $500 million from other sources into base operating support accounts in 2010 to fill funding shortfalls, the Defense Department announced on Friday.

"We will continue to look for efficiencies and best practices, but the bottom line is we will not shortchange our soldiers and their families," said Army Secretary John McHugh, in a statement.

Base operations accounts fund a range of activities that support soldiers and their families, including child care centers, utilities and maintenance programs, fitness centers, barracks and dining facilities.

Michael Thiem, a spokesman for the Army's Installation Management Command, said service leaders have not yet identified where the money will come from to shore up the base operations account.

A number of factors contributed to the need for more money, Thiem said, including increased support for the war in Afghanistan, the recent expansion of the Army, and stepped up anti-terrorism and force protection efforts at installations.

Service leaders intend to conduct a comprehensive mid-year review of installation base operating support accounts to ensure priorities are being met.

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