Move of medical logistics unit to Kaiserslautern delayed till mid-2018
By WILL MORRIS AND MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 15, 2017
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The move of a medical support group from Pirmasens to Kaiserslautern, originally scheduled for this past summer, will now be delayed until the middle of next year because of permitting issues, the Army said Thursday.
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center, Europe, or USAMMCE, was scheduled to move in July to Kaiserslautern Army Depot from Husterhoeh Kaserne, but a round of permitting issues delayed the move.
Ray Johnson, chief of public affairs for Installation Management Command-Europe, said in July that the delay would last no more than 90 days. On Thursday, as the permitting delays continue, Johnson declined to speculate on a firm move date but said he doesn’t expect the project to be completed until after May 2018.
Renovations have been completed at the six buildings on the Kaiserslautern depot, but the project was flagged because of an apparent misunderstanding between U.S. and German officials over required oversight under the U.S.-German Status of Forces Agreement, officials said.
“The delay (problem) is due to review of permit approvals, which is a lengthy process,” Johnson said in an email. “We have gone back and provided the German federal construction office required documents, which were not originally submitted due to differing views of the type of construction completed.”
In July, Martin Treutlein, a spokesman with Germany’s federal construction office, said the military assumed it could complete the renovations independently, without seeking his office’s approval.
The move will affect 60 Americans and 219 local Germans.
Johnson said the delays would not add to the cost of the $40 million project.
“There have been no project cost overruns so far and up to this point in the review the German State construction office has not identified any problems with the construction,” Johnson said. “We are simply going through the normal permitting process now.”
The move of the Army unit to Kaiserslautern is part of the continuing drawdown of U.S. forces in Pirmasens. The official turnover of the facilities to German authorities occurred in 1994. Much of the former U.S. base has since been converted to commercial development.
The unit, which falls under U.S. Army Medical Command, provides medical logistics support for units in Europe, Africa the Middle East and for the State Department.