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Report to Congressional Committees: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

May 2010: 

Defense Infrastructure: 

Opportunities Exist to Improve the Navy's Basing Decision Process and 
DOD Oversight: 

GAO-10-482: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-10-482, a report to congressional committees. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

Decisions by the military services on where to base their force 
structure can have significant strategic, socioeconomic, and cost 
implications for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the communities 
surrounding the bases. Each service uses its own process to make 
basing decisions. The House Committee on Armed Services directed GAO 
to review the services’ basing decision processes. GAO examined the 
extent to which (1) the services have comprehensive processes in place 
that are designed to result in well-informed basing decisions and (2) 
DOD exercises management control of these processes. GAO reviewed and 
analyzed DOD and service guidance, studies, and relevant documents on 
implementation and oversight of the services’ basing processes. 

What GAO Found: 

The Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force basing decision processes fully 
incorporate the key elements, associated factors, and management 
control standards that GAO identified as necessary in a comprehensive 
process; however, the Navy needs additional guidance for its process 
to be complete. GAO found that while the Army, Marine Corps, and Air 
Force each have issued comprehensive guidance for their basing 
possesses that describes the organizational roles and responsibilities 
within the service, establishes links among all of the service’s 
strategic and environmental guidance documents, and identifies the 
service’s basing criteria, some of the Navy’s guidance documents 
lacked detailed information about specific actions taken during the 
process and defined responsibility for completing certain types of 
analyses. For example, the Navy’s Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart—one 
of the five guidance documents used to implement the Navy’s process—
shows that some types of analyses are conducted to review a range of 
considerations, such as access to training areas, sailor and family 
quality of life, and ship size, for a particular basing decision. But 
the document does not describe in any detail how and by whom these 
analyses will be conducted. Additionally, Navy guidance does not 
provide a clear explanation of how its five guidance documents are 
linked together in implementing the Navy’s overall basing process. 
Without comprehensive and clear guidance on all aspects of the Navy’s 
overall basing decision process, the Navy may lack the completeness 
and management control to ensure that Navy basing decisions can 
facilitate external stakeholders’ examination and scrutiny or ensure 
effective implementation of the Navy’s basing process. 

The Secretary of Defense has not set a policy or assigned an office a 
clear role for providing management control of the services’ basing 
decision processes within the United States, and as a consequence may 
lack reasonable assurance that certain departmentwide initiatives will 
be fully supported in the services’ basing decisions. The Office of 
the Secretary of Defense (OSD) officials said that OSD is promoting 
joint sharing of DOD facilities and seeking to ensure that domestic 
basing decisions support global operations. However, OSD has not fully 
promoted service consideration of the joint sharing, global 
operations, and potentially other initiatives because the Secretary of 
Defense has neither provided a comprehensive policy for, nor clearly 
assigned an office within OSD to oversee domestic service basing 
processes. Without OSD guidance and an office to provide effective 
oversight of military service basing decision processes, the Secretary 
of Defense lacks reasonable assurance that departmentwide initiatives 
are adequately considered by the services in their domestic basing 
decision making. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that the Navy better link its basing guidance documents 
and ensure they adequately address management control, and the 
Secretary of Defense identify a lead office for oversight and 
establish guidance on the consideration of departmentwide priorities 
as part of the services’ basing decision processes. DOD concurred with 
two, partially concurred with two, and nonconcurred with one of the 
recommendations. 

View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-482] or key 
components. For more information, contact Brian Lepore at (202) 512-
4523 or Leporeb@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Background: 

The Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force's Basing Decision Processes Are 
Comprehensive, but the Navy's Process Lacks Guidance in Some Areas: 

OSD Does Not Have a Clear Process to Exercise Management Control over 
the Services' Basing Decision Processes: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Summary of the Navy's Decision to Homeport a Nuclear-
Powered Aircraft Carrier at Mayport, Florida: 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Table: 

Table 1: Key Elements, Factors, and Management Control Standards of 
GAO's Assessment Tool for Evaluating the Services' Basing Decision 
Processes: 

Figure: 

Figure 1: GAO's Assessment of the Services' Basing Decision Processes: 

Abbreviations: 

[End of section] 

BRAC: Base Realignment and Closure 

DOD: Department of Defense 

OSD: Office of the Secretary of Defense: 

[End of section] 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

May 11, 2010: 

Congressional Committees: 

Decisions by the military services on where to base their force 
structure[Footnote 1] in the United States (the 50 states and the 
District of Columbia) can have significant strategic, socioeconomic, 
and cost implications for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the 
communities surrounding the bases. Basing decisions can often result 
in changes to the numbers of personnel, military families, and defense-
related contractors working or living at DOD installations and to the 
bases' infrastructure, operational, and support requirements. 
Similarly, these decisions can have an effect on off-base 
infrastructure, community services, businesses, and environmental 
considerations of local communities. As a result, the services' basing 
processes need to be comprehensive and service basing decisions to be 
transparent, repeatable, and defendable. Each of the military 
services--the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force--
uses its own process to make basing decisions within the United States 
that are not made under the base realignment and closure (BRAC) 
legislation.[Footnote 2] 

In its June 2009 report on H.R. 2647, the House Committee on Armed 
Services directed GAO to review the services' basing decision 
processes to determine the manner in which the services consider and 
utilize the following factors in making military basing decisions: 
changes to military force structure, strategic imperative and risk 
assessment, cost, input from combatant commanders, and environmental 
and socioeconomic impacts. In response to this report,[Footnote 3] our 
objectives were to examine the extent to which (1) the services have 
comprehensive processes in place that are designed to result in well- 
informed basing decisions within the United States (50 states and the 
District of Columbia) that are not made under the BRAC legislation and 
(2) DOD exercises management control, such as providing guidance and 
oversight for the services' basing decision processes. In addition, 
the report requested information about the approach used by the Navy 
in making its recent decision to homeport a nuclear-powered carrier at 
Mayport, Florida; this information is provided in appendix II. 

To address the first objective, we obtained the military services' 
basing decision regulations, instructions, or orders and other 
pertinent documentation provided by the services.[Footnote 4] We 
interviewed service officials to gain an understanding of the 
processes and analyzed the services' basing decision processes using 
an assessment tool we developed. This tool identifies the key 
elements, including specific factors within each element, and 
management control standards[Footnote 5] designed for a process to be 
comprehensive and its decisions to be transparent, repeatable, and 
defendable. In developing this assessment tool, we conducted a 
literature search of prior GAO reports on relevant subject areas, 
including results-oriented government, resource decisions, internal 
control,[Footnote 6] military force structure issues, defense 
management challenges, and BRAC legislation that includes criteria and 
planning processes. We also considered the factors that the House 
Committee on Armed Services included in its report--changes to 
military force structure, strategic imperative and risk assessment, 
cost, input from combatant commanders, and environmental and 
socioeconomic impacts. We discussed the services' basing processes, 
our assessment tool, and analyses with DOD and service officials 
knowledgeable about making basing decisions. Our review focused on 
assessing the services' processes. We did not assess the extent to 
which the services implemented their guidance and processes to support 
past basing decisions. We interviewed officials from the offices of 
the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Deputy Under 
Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment and the Joint 
Staff and Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps headquarters and 
command staff. In commenting on our assessment tool, the Office of the 
Secretary of Defense (OSD) and service officials agreed that our tool 
was reasonable and complete. We also interviewed staff at U.S. 
Northern and U.S. Southern Commands to obtain an understanding of the 
combatant commands' participation in the services' basing decision 
processes. 

To address the second objective, we analyzed relevant law, the 
military services' basing decision regulations, instructions, or 
orders and other pertinent documentation to identify the roles and 
responsibilities within DOD and management control of the services' 
basing decision processes. We interviewed officials from the offices 
of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Deputy Under 
Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment to determine 
how DOD exercises management control, such as oversight, to coordinate 
and facilitate basing decisions across the services. Additionally, in 
our examination of the Navy's decision to establish a second East 
Coast nuclear-capable homeport at Mayport, Florida, we obtained and 
reviewed key Navy and DOD strategy and planning documents, relevant 
law and legislative history, environmental studies, and other 
supporting documentation. We interviewed officials in OSD and Navy 
officials knowledgeable about the Navy's rationale for its Mayport 
decision. We also visited and interviewed Navy officials at Naval Air 
Station North Island, California, and Naval Station Mayport, Florida, 
to understand the extent of potential upgrades required to homeport a 
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Mayport. Additional information on 
our scope and methodology is provided in appendix I. 

We conducted this performance audit from July 2009 through May 2010 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe 
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

Background: 

Roles in the Basing Decision Process: 

The secretaries of the Army, Navy,[Footnote 7] and Air Force have a 
key role in making decisions on where to locate their services' forces 
when they are not otherwise employed or deployed by order of the 
Secretary of Defense or assigned to a combatant command. The service 
secretaries are authorized, subject to the authority, direction, and 
control of the Secretary of Defense, to conduct all affairs of their 
departments--including functions such as organizing, equipping, 
training, and maintaining[Footnote 8] force structure. The secretaries 
also have the authority to construct, maintain, and repair buildings, 
structures and utilities, and to acquire the real property or 
interests in real property necessary to carry out their 
responsibilities. In addition, the secretaries may assign forces under 
their jurisdiction to carry out these functions, unless otherwise 
directed by the Secretary of Defense or the forces are assigned to a 
combatant command.[Footnote 9] 

The Secretary of Defense has authority, direction, and control over 
DOD,[Footnote 10] including the military services, and may perform any 
of his functions through organizations of the department as he may 
designate, unless prohibited by law.[Footnote 11] Furthermore, OSD was 
established in part to assist the Secretary of Defense in carrying out 
his duties and responsibilities and to carry out such other duties as 
may be prescribed by law.[Footnote 12] Senior officials within OSD 
develop policy and guidance for their unique areas of responsibility. 
For example, among the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics is establishing policies for 
logistics, maintenance, and sustainment support for all elements of 
DOD.[Footnote 13] 

DOD periodically monitors, as part of its oversight role, its 
significant investments of military force structure and resources 
through its Quadrennial Defense Review that is generally conducted 
every four years.[Footnote 14] Under law, the Secretary of Defense is 
to conduct a comprehensive examination of the national defense 
strategy, force structure, force modernization plans, infrastructure, 
budget plan, and other elements of the country's defense program and 
policies with a view toward determining and expressing the nation's 
defense strategy and establishing a defense program for the next 20 
years. 

Overview of the Services' Basing Decision Processes: 

The four military services each use different terminology and 
definitions when describing their basing decision processes. For 
example, the Army describes its basing decision process as 
"stationing," the Marine Corps generally uses the term "force 
laydown," and the Air Force uses the term "beddown." The Navy 
describes its basing decision process using the terms "strategic 
laydown" and "strategic dispersal;" the strategic laydown process 
provides the Navy with a methodology to align, organize, and position 
naval forces between the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. The strategic 
dispersal process is used to determine the distribution of ships by 
homeport in regard to infrastructure, operational availability, 
proximity to ranges and support, port loading, quality of service and 
quality of life, and antiterrorism and force protection factors. For 
the purposes of this report, we use "basing" to refer to the services' 
processes to make decisions about where to establish locations for 
their force structure within the United States (the 50 states and the 
District of Columbia) that are not made under BRAC legislation. 

Our analysis showed that, generally, each of the services has 
established a basing decision process that uses similar criteria, 
scope, and methodologies to determine where to locate its force 
structure within the United States and globally. The basing process 
begins by the service identifying the goals for the planned change in 
the location of military force structure. The service then conducts a 
series of analyses, such as capability and capacity analyses, to 
determine the specific requirements for meeting those goals. Based on 
the results of the services' analyses, potential installations are 
identified. Further analyses are conducted using cost estimates and 
environmental considerations to develop a list of candidate basing 
locations. The candidate locations are presented to the service's 
leadership, and after further review, a final basing decision is 
reached. Throughout their processes, the services conduct multiple 
risk assessments; coordinate with internal and external stakeholders, 
including combatant commanders; and use military judgment to support 
their decisions. 

The services have guidance documents that are used to implement the 
processes for making basing decisions within the United States and not 
made under the BRAC legislation. This guidance and its implementation 
is part of the services' management control, which provides oversight 
of the basing processes. In addition, service officials stated that 
the same guidance and processes are used to make overseas or global 
basing decisions. The Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force use a 
comprehensive regulation, order, and instruction, respectively, for 
their processes. According to Navy officials, the Navy currently uses 
five guidance documents[Footnote 15] to implement its basing decision 
process: 

* Chief of Naval Operations Instruction: Navy Organization Change 
Manual: 

* Strategic Laydown Flow Chart: 

* Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart: 

* Chief of Naval Operations Instruction: Environmental Readiness 
Program Manual: 

* Secretary of the Navy Instruction: Environmental Planning for 
Department of the Navy Actions: 

As an aspect of management control--to continually seek ways to better 
achieve an agency's mission and program results--each of the services 
is taking steps to strengthen its basing process. The Army and Air 
Force have made revisions to their regulation and instruction, 
respectively, to incorporate changes made in how their processes are 
conducted. For example, Army officials stated that the Army's basing 
regulation will incorporate an analysis of military value,[Footnote 
16] which was identified as a priority criterion to be used by the 
Secretary of Defense during the BRAC process. Army officials said that 
the addition of this analysis in its process will provide more data to 
its leaders for making future basing decisions. Air Force officials 
told us that the Air Force recently changed from a decentralized to a 
centralized process to better clarify roles and responsibilities in 
the process and ensure that the Air Force performs an objective review 
of all operational and training options. The Marine Corps' most recent 
revisions to its basing process clearly emphasizes the integration of 
strategic guidance (top-down direction) and commander-generated 
recommendations (bottom-up requests); mandates a detailed integrated 
examination of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, 
personnel, and facilities; and explicitly defines leadership roles and 
responsibilities. Navy officials stated that while the Navy has used 
its strategic laydown process to make basing decisions for the past 20 
years, it recently refined the process and added a strategic dispersal 
process, which was designed to align with the transformation described 
in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and the Navy's Maritime 
Strategy. 

GAO Assessment Tool Used to Evaluate the Services' Basing Decision 
Processes: 

To assist in evaluating the military services' basing decision 
processes, we developed an assessment tool that included the key 
elements, factors within the elements, and management control 
standards[Footnote 17] that are part of a comprehensive process, and 
when incorporated in the process, increase its transparency, 
repeatability, and defendability. Our tool includes four key elements--
strategic and force structure planning, infrastructure analysis, 
implementation considerations, and authority for making the basing 
decision--together with various factors that make up each element (see 
table 1). Within each of the four key elements are a series of factors 
that represent supporting analyses and activities that are important 
for completing the element. The strategic and force structure planning 
element, for example, includes factors such as national strategies, 
DOD and service planning and guidance documents, the results of risk 
assessments, and military judgment. Risk assessment is also considered 
as a factor in the infrastructure analysis and implementation 
considerations elements and as a standard for management control. 
[Footnote 18] In commenting on our assessment tool, OSD and service 
officials agreed that our tool was reasonable and complete. 

Table 1: Key Elements, Factors, and Management Control Standards of 
GAO's Assessment Tool for Evaluating the Services' Basing Decision 
Processes: 

Key elements: Strategic and force structure planning; 
Factors within each key element: 
* Consideration of national level strategies; 
* Consideration of DOD/service planning and guidance documents; 
* Coordination with and input from other stakeholders, including 
combatant commanders; 
* Risk assessment; 
* Military judgment. 

Key elements: Infrastructure analysis; 
Factors within each key element: 
* Clear definition of requirement(s); 
* Consideration of DOD/service infrastructure plans; 
* Capability analysis; 
* Capacity analysis; 
* Coordination with and input from other stakeholders, including 
combatant commanders; 
* Order of magnitude cost estimate; 
* Risk assessment; 
* Military judgment. 

Key elements: Implementation considerations; 
Factors within each key element: 
* Consideration of regional or installation infrastructure plans; 
* Detailed cost estimate; 
* Environmental impact; 
* Socioeconomic impact; 
* Coordination with and input from other stakeholders; 
* Risk assessment; 
* Military judgment. 

Key elements: Authority for making the basing decision; 
Factors within each key element: 
* Determination of the basing decision and approval by applicable 
service secretary or the Secretary of Defense. 

Management control: 
Five standards for management control: 
* Control environment; 
* Risk assessment; 
* Control activities; 
* Information and communications; 
* Monitoring. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table] 

Management control underpins the entire basing process, and the 
Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government[Footnote 19] 
provides a foundation that can help government program managers 
achieve desired results through effective stewardship of public 
resources. Management control comprises the plans, methods, and 
procedures used to meet the organization's missions, goals, and 
objectives and consists of five standards--control environment, risk 
assessment, control activities, information and communications, and 
monitoring. For example, management control recommends that an 
organization issue a governing instruction that specifies who is 
responsible for each step of a process, including oversight and review 
of decisions made at critical steps by an official or group other than 
those who made the original decision, and directs those responsible to 
document the steps of a key decision process, such as the basing 
decision process. 

The Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force's Basing Decision Processes Are 
Comprehensive, but the Navy's Process Lacks Guidance in Some Areas: 

The Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force basing decision processes 
include all of the key elements, associated factors, and management 
control standards that we identified as necessary in a comprehensive 
process and that when incorporated in the process, increase its 
transparency, repeatability and defendability. However, the Navy's 
basing process needs additional guidance for its infrastructure 
analysis--a key element--and for related management control standards 
for its process to be complete. We found, for example, that one of 
Navy's guiding documents--the Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart--did not 
provide details about how and by whom specific actions will be done 
during the process. In addition, management control underpins all 
aspects of a basing decision process, and the Standards for Internal 
Control in the Federal Government recommends policies and procedures 
to enforce management's directives; specify who is responsible for 
each step of the process, including oversight and review of decisions 
made; and direct those responsible to maintain appropriate 
documentation. Specifically, we found that some of the Navy's guidance 
documents do not provide detailed information about how certain types 
of analyses will be completed and who is responsible for completing 
them. Additionally, Navy officials acknowledged that the Navy has not 
clearly described the linkage between all five guidance documents it 
uses to implement its basing decision process. Without comprehensive 
and clear guidance of the Navy's overall basing decision process, the 
Navy may lack the completeness and management control to ensure that 
its basing decisions can facilitate external stakeholders' examination 
and scrutiny or ensure effective implementation of Navy's basing 
process. 

The Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force Basing Processes Are 
Comprehensive, but Navy's Guidance Is Incomplete: 

Our assessment found that the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force basing 
processes incorporated all of the key elements, associated factors, 
and management control standards that we identified as necessary for a 
process to be comprehensive and its decisions to be transparent, 
repeatable, and defendable. However, the Navy has not provided 
complete guidance for its infrastructure analysis--a key element--and 
for some of its related management control standards in its basing 
process. Figure 1 summarizes our assessment and the rating we assigned 
to the key elements and management control for each of the services' 
basing decision processes. 

Figure 1: GAO's Assessment of the Services' Basing Decision Processes: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustrated table] 

Services’ Basing Decision Processes: 

Key element: Strategic and force structure planning; 
Army: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Navy: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Marine Corps: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent; 
Air Force: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent. 

Key element: Infrastructure analysis; 
Army: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Navy: Incorporates the key elements or management control to some 
extent; 
Marine Corps: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent; 
Air Force: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent. 

Key element: Implementation considerations; 
Army: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Navy: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Marine Corps: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent; 
Air Force: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent; 

Key element: Authority for making basing decision: 
Army: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Navy: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Marine Corps: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent; 
Air Force: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent; 

Management control: 
Army: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a large 
extent; 
Navy: Incorporates the key elements or management control to some 
extent; 
Marine Corps: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent; 
Air Force: Incorporates the key elements or management control to a 
large extent. 

Sources: GAO analysis. 

None of the services fell into this category: Incorporates the key 
elements or management control to a little or no extent. 

[End of figure] 

During our assessment, we found that the Army, Marine Corps, and Air 
Force incorporate the key elements and management control to a large 
extent. The following are examples of how each of these services 
incorporated one of the key elements and the management control 
standards during its basing process: 

* Strategic and force structure planning element: According to Army 
planning officials, they would ask about the strategic risk of 
performing a mission or not performing a mission and would complete 
tactical and strategic risk analyses using Army's force structure. 

* Infrastructure analysis element: In implementing their guidance, the 
Marine Corps required that a list of location alternatives and 
associated implications be submitted to the Marine Requirements 
Oversight Council for approval. 

* Implementation considerations element: According to officials, the 
Air Force would rank the potential locations and determine which 
locations could best meet the Air Force's basing needs. 

* Management control standards: The Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force 
guidance documents clearly defined which office is responsible for 
each step of the process and who had the authority to make decisions 
at various steps, allowed for oversight and review of decisions made 
at critical steps, and developed records associated with various steps 
that provided evidence that the process was being followed. 

We also found that the Navy incorporated to a large extent three out 
of the four key elements in its basing process. For example, in the 
implementation considerations element, as part of the Navy's basing 
process, the Navy uses its Environmental Readiness Program Manual, 
which considers regional or installation infrastructure plans, 
detailed cost estimates, environmental impacts, socioeconomic impacts, 
coordination with and input from other stakeholders, risk assessment, 
and military judgment during the process of assessing environmental 
impact. In addition, the Navy has coordinated with senior leadership 
within the office of the Secretary of the Navy and Naval Facilities 
Engineering Command and with other applicable agencies, such as the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection 
Agency. Furthermore, the Navy has performed risk assessments for such 
events as hurricanes, man-made disasters, and other military and port 
threats. However, for its infrastructure analysis key element and for 
related management control standards, the Navy needs additional 
guidance for its process to be complete. 

Some Navy Guidance Lacks Specific Details: 

Our assessment, found, however, that some of the guidance that the 
Navy uses to implement its basing process is incomplete. The Army, 
Marine Corps, and Air Force have a regulation, order, and instruction, 
[Footnote 20] respectively, which describe the organizational roles 
and responsibilities; links between other necessary strategic and 
environmental guidance documents; and service basing analyses, 
factors, and criteria that should be used when making basing 
decisions. However, some of the Navy's current guidance documents, 
primarily used for the infrastructure analysis key element and 
management control, do not contain detailed information about the 
specific actions that are taken during its basing process or clearly 
define who is responsible for completing certain types of analyses. In 
addition, according to Navy officials, the Navy uses the following 
five guidance documents to implement its overall basing decision 
process: (1) Chief of Naval Operations Instruction: Navy Organization 
Change Manual, (2) Strategic Laydown Flow Chart, (3) Strategic 
Dispersal Flow Chart, (4) Secretary of the Navy Instruction: 
Environmental Planning for Department of the Navy Actions, and (5) 
Chief of Naval Operations Instruction: Environmental Readiness Program 
Manual. However, Navy guidance does not provide a clear explanation 
for how all of these guidance documents are linked together in the 
process. 

In reviewing the infrastructure analysis element of the process, we 
found that the Navy's Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart neither includes 
sufficient detail about the specific actions nor provides clearly 
defined responsibilities in the organization for completing and 
coordinating them. For example, the flow chart shows that some types 
of capability and capacity analyses of potential homeport locations 
are conducted that take into consideration access to training areas, 
sailor quality of life, family quality of life, and collocating of 
ships, and support units and planned military construction projects, 
port capacity and loading, pier space, and ship size, respectively. 
However, the Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart does not describe in any 
detail how the analysis is to be conducted and who is to conduct it. 
Furthermore, while Navy officials stated that there are working groups 
with appropriate stakeholders throughout the Navy's basing process, we 
found that the Navy's Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart does not describe 
in detail the type of coordination with other stakeholders that should 
occur. 

For management control, our assessment showed that some of the Navy's 
five guidance documents only partially describe the standards for 
management control--risk assessment, information and communications, 
control environment, control activities, and monitoring. Specifically, 
some of the Navy's basing process guidance documents do not: 

* describe how risk is evaluated and who conducts this analysis; 

* provide detail to show how information flows down, across, and up 
the organization, or identify the means of communication with external 
stakeholders; 

* clearly define key areas of authority and responsibility and 
establish appropriate lines of reporting; 

* properly document policies and procedures, such as approvals and the 
creation and maintenance of related records, which would provide 
evidence that these activities have been executed; 

* show how regular management and supervisory activities and other 
actions are performed during the normal course of its basing decision 
process; and: 

* clearly link all five guidance documents to enforce management's 
directives. 

Two of the Navy's guidance documents lack specific key management 
controls. First, the Navy's Strategic Laydown Process Flow Chart does 
not describe how risk assessment should be evaluated. Second, the 
Navy's Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart does not show how and who is 
responsible for conducting and evaluating risk assessment, how 
information is disseminated within the organization, and how it is 
exchanged with external stakeholders; clearly define key areas of 
authority and responsibility and establish appropriate lines of 
reporting; show proper documentation in executing the process and how 
it should be maintained; show how regular management and supervisory 
activities are performed during the normal course of Navy officials' 
duties; and show the organizational roles and responsibilities for 
completing and coordinating this process. 

Navy's Guidance Documents Are Not All Clearly Linked: 

While each of the Navy's five guidance documents for its basing 
process provides support for one or more key elements or for 
management control, Navy officials could not identify to us any 
guidance or related documents that clearly describe how these guidance 
documents are linked together in the process. For example, Navy 
officials told us that the flow charts describing its strategic 
laydown and strategic dispersal processes were the primary 
documentation used to support Navy's basing methodology. However, 
these flow charts do not describe the Navy's entire basing decision 
process. Specifically, the flow charts do not provide references to 
show that the Navy's organization change manual and the two 
environmental planning guidance documents are also a part of the 
overall basing process. In addition, Navy officials acknowledged that 
without the linkage of these five documents, the Navy's basing process 
may not be transparent to outside stakeholders. Since the five 
guidance documents are not all clearly linked, Navy management and 
staff may not have a clear and complete understanding of the roles, 
responsibilities, and relationships between various organizations 
within the process; the range of actions, analyses, and supporting 
documentation required; and the interrelationship of all the elements, 
factors, and management control standards needed to implement the 
process. 

OSD Does Not Have a Clear Process to Exercise Management Control over 
the Services' Basing Decision Processes: 

The Secretary of Defense has not set a policy or assigned an office a 
clear role for providing management control of the services' basing 
decision processes within the United States and not made under the 
BRAC legislation, and as a consequence may lack reasonable assurance 
that certain DOD-wide initiatives will be fully supported in service 
basing decisions. Specifically, in its 2007 Defense Installation 
Strategic Plan, DOD indicated it would attempt to reshape the overall 
structure of its installations in the United States to better support 
all DOD components and joint warfighting needs.[Footnote 21] In 
addition, DOD is continuing its efforts to reduce the number of troops 
permanently stationed overseas and consolidate overseas bases. 
Moreover, the 2007 Defense Installation Strategic Plan's "Right 
Management Practices" goal suggests the DOD intends to embrace best 
business practices and modern asset management techniques to improve 
its installation planning and operations. Standards for Internal 
Control in the Federal Government recommends that management control 
should be built into an organization to help managers run it and 
achieve their aims on an ongoing basis. OSD officials told us that OSD 
provides management control over basing issues through its annual 
reviews of the services' budgets and other program reviews, such as 
the Quadrennial Defense Review.[Footnote 22] 

According to OSD officials, even though OSD is developing policy and 
plans to prepare guidance for its overseas basing process, which DOD 
refers to as global basing, OSD has no current plans to develop a 
policy for the services' basing processes within the United States. As 
a result, these officials acknowledged that there is no departmentwide 
policy that provides direction to the military services on how 
departmentwide issues, such as the potential sharing of DOD facilities 
by the services and global basing and operations, should be considered 
in evaluating domestic basing alternatives. Furthermore, the Secretary 
of Defense has not sufficiently delegated to an office within OSD a 
clear line of authority and responsibility for providing the guidance 
and oversight of the services' domestic basing processes. Nonetheless, 
officials from the offices of the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Policy and the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and 
Environment told us that it is important for the military services to 
consider any potential impacts that the services' basing decisions 
could have on joint sharing of DOD facilities and global basing and 
operations. However, these officials also stated that it is unclear to 
what extent the services' basing processes include risk assessment 
questions that take into consideration a cross-service perspective of 
base planning to share DOD facilities jointly and any impacts that the 
services' basing decisions within the United States may have on global 
basing and operations. 

OSD officials stated that DOD has recently taken steps toward 
establishing an integrated process to assess and adjust global basing. 
DOD established the Global Posture Executive Council, which is 
responsible for facilitating global posture[Footnote 23] decisions and 
overseeing the assessment and implementation of global posture plans. 
In a July 2009 report, we identified a weakness in DOD's approach, 
despite these positive steps.[Footnote 24] Specifically, as of July 
2009 when we issued our report, DOD had not yet reported on global 
posture matters in a comprehensive manner. In that report, DOD 
concurred with our recommendations to (1) issue guidance establishing 
a definition and common terms of reference for global defense posture; 
(2) develop guidance requiring the geographic combatant commands to 
establish an approach to monitor initiative implementation, assess 
progress, and report on results; and (3) establish criteria and a 
process for selecting and assigning lead service responsibilities for 
future locations. OSD officials told us that since the services use 
the same processes for making basing decisions both within the United 
States and globally, OSD could similarly exercise management control 
of the services' basing processes through its global defense posture 
policy to oversee basing decisions within the United States, but had 
not generally done so to date. In addition, these officials stated 
that the global defense posture policy draft is expected in spring 
2010; however, officials did not know when it would be formally 
issued. Without implementing a DOD-wide policy that includes guidance 
and oversight of the military services' basing processes and assigns 
an OSD office with authority and responsibility for providing this 
oversight, the Secretary of Defense lacks reasonable assurance that 
DOD plans for sharing facilities among the services, possible impacts 
on global basing and operations, or other departmentwide issues are 
adequately considered by the services in their basing decision making. 

Conclusions: 

While the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force each have established 
comprehensive basing processes for determining where to base its force 
structure in the United States, the lack of completeness in two of the 
Navy's five guidance documents and lack of clear linkage between its 
multiple guidance documents may limit the understanding of its process 
both internally and externally and the Navy's ability to implement its 
process consistently. Without comprehensive basing processes with 
detailed guidance and instructions, DOD may not have assurance that 
the services' basing decisions are transparent, repeatable, and 
defendable. Additionally, in light of the substantial costs and 
potential strategic and socioeconomic impacts on DOD operations and 
interests of the communities surrounding the bases that can result 
from the services' basing decisions, it is important to include DOD-
wide considerations, such as joint use of facilities by the services 
and global basing and operations, in the services' basing processes. 
While DOD does exercise management control through its budget and 
program reviews, the department may not have sufficient guidance and 
oversight of the services' basing processes to ensure that 
departmentwide priorities are fully considered in the services' basing 
decisions. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To improve the Navy's ability to make well-informed basing decisions 
that are transparent, repeatable, and defendable, we recommend that 
the Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of the Navy to take the 
following three actions to strengthen the Navy's guidance and 
associated documentation for its basing decision process: 

1. In its Strategic Laydown Flow Chart, clearly describe how risk is 
evaluated. 

2. In its Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart, clearly describe: 

* how risk is evaluated and who conducts this analysis; 

* how information flows within the organization; 

* the means of communication with internal and external stakeholders; 

* the areas of authority and responsibility and appropriate lines of 
reporting; 

* how documents and related records are to be properly maintained to 
provide evidence that these activities were executed; 

* how regular management and supervisory activities and other related 
actions are performed during the normal course of this process; and: 

* the organizational responsibilities for completing and coordinating 
the dispersal process actions. 

3. Describe the link between Navy's five guidance documents--the Chief 
of Naval Operations Instruction: Navy Organization Change Manual; 
Strategic Laydown Flow Chart; Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart; the 
Secretary of the Navy Instruction: Environmental Planning for 
Department of the Navy Actions; and the Chief of Naval Operations 
Instruction: Environmental Readiness Program Manual--used to implement 
the Navy's overall basing decision process. 

We further recommend that the Secretary of Defense take the following 
two actions: 

* Identify a lead office within OSD best suited for the authority and 
responsibility for providing oversight of the services' domestic 
basing decision processes. 

* Establish guidance for the services to ensure that they fully 
consider joint use of DOD facilities, impacts to global operations, 
and other departmentwide initiatives during the course of their basing 
processes. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Officials from the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Deputy 
Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, the 
Office of the Secretary of Navy (Installations and Environment), and 
the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Information, Plans, and 
Strategy) provided oral comments on a draft of this report. In the 
comments, DOD concurred with two, partially concurred with two, and 
nonconcurred with one of our recommended actions. DOD also provided an 
opinion on text contained in appendix II, which summarized the Navy's 
decision to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Mayport, 
Florida. 

Specifically, DOD concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary 
of Defense direct the Secretary of the Navy to clearly describe how 
risk is evaluated in the Navy's Strategic Laydown Flow Chart. DOD 
stated that our report identified a seam between existing Secretary of 
the Navy instructions, which generally deal with how to conduct 
homeport analysis, such as Environmental Impact Studies and National 
Environmental Policy Act compliance, and existing Office of the Chief 
of Naval Operations guidance. However, DOD does not identify any 
actions it plans to take to implement what we recommended. 

DOD partially concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of 
Defense direct the Secretary of the Navy to clearly describe in the 
Navy's Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart several areas of considerations, 
such as how risk is evaluated and who conducts this analysis, how 
information flows within the organization, and the means of 
communication with internal and external stakeholders. DOD stated that 
factors involved in homeport decisions are codified and implemented by 
the Navy Organization Change Manual. However, the Navy Organization 
Change Manual currently addresses none of the elements of our 
recommendation with regard to the Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart 
process and instead provides guidance only for the strategic laydown 
process. Regarding the Strategic and Force Structure Planning 
assessment, DOD also acknowledges that providing specific guidance and 
reference to the above-recommended considerations in a Secretary of 
the Navy or Chief of Naval Operations instruction would likely improve 
the overall clarity of homeporting decisions. Nonetheless, DOD does 
not identify any actions that the Navy plans to take to implement our 
recommendation. 

DOD concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Secretary of the Navy to describe the link between its five 
guidance documents--the Chief of Naval Operations Organization Change 
Manual; Strategic Laydown Flow Chart; Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart; 
the Secretary of the Navy's environmental planning document; and the 
Chief of Naval Operations environmental planning document--used to 
implement the Navy's overall basing decision process. DOD agreed that 
a linkage between the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the 
Navy guidance documents is necessary in order to better streamline and 
designate responsibilities for strategic homeporting decisions. 
However, DOD's comment addresses only three of the relevant documents 
and omits discussing linkages with the other two. We continue to 
believe that the explicit connection between all five guidance 
documents is needed to ensure that stakeholders have a complete 
understanding of the process used to make basing decisions. 
Furthermore, the Navy did not indicate what actions it plans to take 
to implement our recommendation or the timeframe for doing so. 

DOD nonconcurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of Defense 
identify a lead office within OSD best suited for the authority and 
responsibility for providing oversight of the services' domestic 
basing decision processes. DOD asserted that the Secretary of Defense 
has adequate oversight of the services' domestic basing decision 
processes through the budget review and Global Posture Executive 
Council. However, if DOD relies on the budget process, OSD may lack 
reasonable assurance that it can effectively influence domestic basing 
decisions because OSD may not have been a stakeholder in the services' 
basing decision during the planning and budgeting phases of the 
decision. Moreover, as our report clearly states, OSD told us that it 
has not used the Global Posture Executive Council for conducting 
oversight, raising questions about how a process not used for OSD 
oversight will assist OSD in actually exercising oversight. Our 
recommendation was intended to fortify OSD management oversight of the 
services' basing decision processes and we continue to believe that a 
lead office should be designated within OSD that could provide the 
necessary proactive management oversight and guidance over service 
basing processes and decisions. 

DOD partially concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of 
Defense establish guidance for the services to ensure that they fully 
consider joint use of DOD facilities, impacts to global operations, 
and other departmentwide initiatives during the course of their basing 
decision processes. DOD stated that the Secretary of Defense provides 
guidance on joint use of DOD facilities through several means, 
including the Quadrennial Defense Review and the program review. In 
addition, DOD stated that the department will periodically review and 
revise this guidance as appropriate to ensure that consideration and 
application of joint-use principles and cross-service impacts are 
institutionalized. Even though OSD may issue guidance on joint use of 
DOD facilities through these means, the Quadrennial Defense Review is 
intended to occur only every 4 years, which does not provide timely 
information regarding departmentwide initiatives since the initiatives 
do not necessarily only occur at 4-year intervals. Moreover, DOD did 
not explain how the program review is useful in influencing service 
basing decisions. While DOD did state that it would periodically 
review and revise guidance, DOD did not identify guidance to be 
reviewed and revised. 

DOD additionally provided a comment on the text related to the Navy's 
decision to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Mayport, 
Florida, which is summarized in appendix II. In regard to our 
statement in the report that "the Department of the Navy made its 
recent decision to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at 
Naval Station Mayport using its strategic laydown and strategic 
dispersal processes and its environmental planning guidance 
documents," DOD stated that while many of the principles for strategic 
laydown were used in making the Mayport decision, the decision 
preceded the 2007 Navy Organization Change Manual, which describes the 
current laydown goals. DOD stated that prior to 2007 the Navy 
conducted a strategic laydown that determined the East Coast-West 
Coast split of forces by platform type, but not the dispersal of 
specific ships to specific locations. However, a senior Navy official 
within the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Information, 
Plans, and Strategy) clarified to us that the decision did go through 
the strategic laydown process existing at the time and through the 
strategic dispersal process as the current concept was being developed 
when Navy made its decision. Consequently, we revised our appendix to 
clarify that the Navy used the strategic laydown process existing at 
the time the Mayport decision was in the process of being made. 

We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional 
committees; the Secretary of Defense; and the Secretaries of the Army, 
the Navy, and the Air Force; the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and 
the Director, Office of Management and Budget. The report also is 
available at no charge on the GAO Web site at [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staffs have any questions, please contact me at (202) 
512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov. Contact point for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. GAO staff who made major contributions to this 
report are listed in appendix III. 

Signed by: 

Brian J. Lepore: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 

List of Congressional Committees: 

The Honorable Carl Levin: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable John McCain: 
Ranking Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Thad Cochran: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Defense: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Ike Skelton: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Howard P. "Buck" McKeon: 
Ranking Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Norman D. Dicks: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable C.W. Bill Young: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Defense: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

To determine the extent to which the services have comprehensive 
basing decision processes in place that are designed to result in well-
informed basing decisions within the United States (50 states and the 
District of Columbia) that are not made under the base realignment and 
closure (BRAC) legislation, we identified and examined the military 
service guidance, policies, instructions, regulations, and orders 
relevant to making basing decisions. We also identified other 
appropriate Department of Defense (DOD) documents, such as the 2001, 
2006, and 2010 Quadrennial Defense Reviews, DOD's 2008 and 2009 
Strategic Management Plans, and 2007 Defense Installations Strategic 
Plan. In addition, to identify their participation in the services' 
basing decision processes, we interviewed officials from the offices 
of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Deputy Under 
Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment; the Joint 
Staff; U.S. Joint Forces Command; U.S. Northern Command; U.S. Southern 
Command; U.S. Army Pacific Command; the offices of the Chief of Staff 
of the Army, Chief of Naval Operations, Commandant of the Marine 
Corps, and Chief of Staff of the Air Force; U.S. Fleet Forces Command; 
and Air Combat Command. We documented each process and then discussed 
each respective service's process with officials from the offices of 
the Chief of Staff of the Army, Chief of Naval Operations, Commandant 
of the Marine Corps, and Chief of Staff of the Air Force to confirm 
our understanding of the service's basing process. We used the 
services' guidance documents and other pertinent documents, interviews 
with the service officials, and officials' comments regarding our 
analyses of the services' processes to determine the extent to which 
the services have comprehensive basing decision processes in place 
that are designed to result in well-informed basing decisions within 
the United States that are not made under BRAC legislation. 

To establish criteria to use in assessing each service's current 
basing process, we developed an assessment tool to identify the key 
elements, factors, and management control standards of a basing 
decision process that would be comprehensive and ensure that the 
basing decisions are transparent, repeatable, and defendable. In 
developing this assessment tool, we conducted a literature search to 
identify relevant standards for criteria and planning processes in 
prior GAO reports on relevant subject areas, including results-
oriented government, resource decisions, internal control, military 
force structure issues, defense management challenges, and BRAC 
legislation. Furthermore, as part of our review, we considered the 
factors included in the House Committee on Armed Services' report on 
H.R. 2647[Footnote 25]--on changes to military force structure, 
strategic imperative and risk assessment, cost, input from combatant 
commanders, and environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Based on our 
research, we identified four key elements for the assessment tool: (1) 
strategic and force structure planning, (2) infrastructure analysis, 
(3) implementation considerations, and (4) authority for making the 
basing decision. In addition, we identified management control as part 
of our evaluation tool. We also determined factors within each key 
element and the standards within management control that were 
necessary evaluation criteria in our assessment tool.[Footnote 26] To 
determine the completeness and reasonableness of our assessment tool, 
we developed and distributed a structured data collection instrument 
to officials within the offices of the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Policy and the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and 
Environment and to service officials in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, 
and Air Force headquarters to obtain their comments. We held 
discussions with these officials to reach agreement on the key 
elements, factors within each element, and management control 
standards that were in our assessment tool. Based on the results of 
the data collection instrument and our follow-on discussions with DOD 
and service officials, we finalized our assessment tool. 

Our analyst team was assigned to assess and evaluate the four 
services' basing decision processes, one service per team analyst. 
Using the assessment tool, we reviewed and assessed each of the 
processes used by the services to make basing decisions within the 
United States that was not made under the BRAC legislation. Each team 
analyst examined the collective evidence concerning his or her 
service's basing decision process, which was found either in a service 
regulation, instruction, order, or other documents. Using the 
service's regulation, instruction, or order; other pertinent 
documents; and discussions with service officials, each team analyst 
applied professional judgment to determine if the service's process 
included a step (or multiple steps) that satisfied the defined factors 
within each of the key elements. We assigned a rating to each process 
based on the extent to which the service incorporated factors and 
standards within the key elements and management control, 
respectively, that our tool identified as necessary for a process to 
be comprehensive and its decisions to be transparent, repeatable, and 
defendable. Based on the extent that these factors and standards were 
incorporated in the service's process, we assigned one of three 
possible ratings to each element: (1) incorporates to a large extent, 
(2) incorporates to some extent, or (3) incorporates to a little or no 
extent. According to our methodology, we assigned a rating of 
"incorporates to a large extent" when a factor showed sufficient, 
specific, and detailed support, as noted in the services' basing 
guidance document(s) or during discussions with agency officials on 
whether the factor was carried out during the basing process. If the 
process addressed some of the factors within the key elements to some 
degree, but not completely, we assigned a rating of "incorporates to 
some extent," and if the evidence showed that the factors were not 
included, we assigned a rating of "incorporates to little or no 
extent." We used the same rating system for the presence of management 
control standards throughout a service's basing process. If a team 
analyst could not clearly determine the extent to which a service's 
process satisfied the criteria for a factor, the factor was rated as 
"unclear." This same methodology was also applied to the five 
standards for management control. 

After each team analyst completed the evaluation and assessment of his 
or her service's basing decision process, the evaluation was validated 
by discussion with the whole team in a group setting. Because we 
developed the key elements, factors within the elements, and 
management control standards, as noted in our assessment tool, with 
input and guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) 
and the services, we also provided the services an opportunity to 
review and comment on our analysis of their respective processes 
against our assessment tool. After receiving comments from each 
service through a structured data collection instrument, including 
clarifying information to resolve any ratings of "unclear," the team 
updated the ratings as necessary. In addition, to determine whether 
the ratings were accurate, the team analysts performed in-depth 
reviews of each other's evaluations of the services' basing decision 
processes. 

After rating each factor within each key element and the management 
control standards, each team analyst then analyzed and determined the 
summary for each key element and for management control. Because each 
individual factor and the management control activities were 
considered to be necessary for a process to be transparent, 
repeatable, and defendable, the factors and the management control 
standards were weighted equally. The summary of our rating describes 
the extent to which the service's process incorporates the key 
elements or management control standards in figure 1 in the report. 

To determine the extent to which the Secretary of Defense exercises 
management control, such as providing DOD-wide guidance and oversight 
of the services' basing decision processes, we reviewed DOD and 
military service guidance, policies, instructions, regulations, and 
orders and relevant law to identify whether an office within OSD has 
been clearly assigned a role and responsibilities over the services' 
basing processes. We reviewed the 2007 Defense Installations Strategic 
Plan, which was developed by the office of the Deputy Under Secretary 
of Defense for Installations and Environment to determine DOD's 
strategic goals for its installations. We also reviewed our prior 
report on global defense posture and the recommendations made in that 
report to improve the global defense posture policy. We also 
interviewed officials from the offices of the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Policy and the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for 
Installations and Environment to obtain their perspectives on how DOD 
exercises management control, such as oversight to coordinate and 
facilitate basing decisions across the services. In addition, we 
interviewed military service officials regarding OSD guidance provided 
to them during the services' basing decision processes. 

To address the request for information about the approach used by the 
Navy in making its decision to establish a homeport for a nuclear- 
powered aircraft carrier at Mayport, Florida, we reviewed key Navy and 
DOD strategy and planning documents, including reports of the 
Quadrennial Defense Reviews of 2001, 2006, and 2010; the Navy's 2007 A 
Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower; and relevant Navy 
instructions and documents. In addition, we reviewed relevant law and 
legislative history concerning homeporting a nuclear-powered aircraft 
carrier at Mayport and examined a 1992 Navy report to Congress and a 
March 1997 Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement 
discussing the facility upgrades required to homeport a nuclear-
powered aircraft carrier at Mayport. Furthermore, we reviewed the 
November 2008 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed 
Homeporting of Additional Surface Ships at Naval Station Mayport, 
Florida, and the January 2009 Navy Record of Decision for Homeporting 
of Additional Surface Ships at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. To 
identify and obtain an understanding of the decision process followed 
by the Navy, we interviewed officials from the offices of the Under 
Secretary of Defense for Policy, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for 
Installations and Environment, Assistant Secretary of the Navy 
(Installations and Environment), and Chief of Naval Operations; the 
Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation; U.S. Fleet Forces 
Command; Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast; and Naval 
Station Mayport. We visited facilities and interviewed officials at 
Naval Station Mayport, Florida, to understand the extent of the 
potential upgrades required to support homeporting a nuclear-powered 
aircraft carrier. We also visited Naval Air Station North Island, 
California, to observe and discuss with Navy officials the 
infrastructure upgrades made to increase its capabilities and 
capacities to berth and homeport nuclear-powered aircraft carriers on 
the West Coast and to increase our understanding of the potential 
scope of upgrades that would be needed at Naval Station Mayport. In 
addition, we interviewed OSD officials involved in the 2010 
Quadrennial Defense Review to assess Navy's decision to homeport a 
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the broad context of future 
threats, future Navy force structure, and likely cost-effectiveness. 
(Appendix II provides a summary of the Navy's decision to homeport a 
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, 
and information on DOD's Quadrennial Defense Review of the Navy's 
decision.) 

We conducted our performance audit from July 2009 through May 2010 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe 
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Summary of the Navy's Decision to Homeport a Nuclear- 
Powered Aircraft Carrier at Mayport, Florida: 

The Navy Has Considered Homeporting a Carrier at Mayport, Florida, for 
Two Decades: 

The possibility of homeporting a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at 
Naval Station Mayport was considered by Congress as early as 1990 in 
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991, which 
required the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a plan to 
upgrade Naval Station Mayport capability to enable the station to 
service nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and otherwise to serve as a 
homeport for these carriers.[Footnote 27] Since that time, provisions 
of other National Defense Authorization Acts have required, among 
other things, that the Secretary of the Navy (1) submit to the 
congressional defense committees a report on the Navy's plan for 
developing a second East Coast homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft 
carriers and (2) begin design activities for such military 
construction projects as may be necessary to make Mayport capable of 
serving as a homeport for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.[Footnote 
28] In addition, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
Year 1993 included a congressional finding that Naval Station Mayport 
ought to be the second East Coast homeport for nuclear-powered 
aircraft carriers when an additional homeport was needed.[Footnote 29] 

The Navy has been reporting to Congress, since the late 1990s on the 
development of plans for making Naval Station Mayport a potential 
homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. In addition, in March 
1997, the Navy released a programmatic environmental impact statement. 
[Footnote 30] In 2001, the Quadrennial Defense Review called for the 
Navy to provide more warfighting assets more quickly to multiple 
locations. In order to meet this new demand, the Navy made its 
preliminary decision to homeport additional fleet surface ships at 
Naval Station Mayport. As a result, the Navy prepared an environmental 
impact statement to evaluate a broad range of strategic homeport and 
dispersal options for Atlantic Fleet surface ships at this location 
and finalized its final environment impact statement.[Footnote 31] On 
January 14, 2009, the Navy issued its record of decision to homeport a 
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. 
[Footnote 32] 

The Process the Navy Used to Make Its Decision to Homeport a Nuclear- 
Powered Aircraft Carrier at Mayport: 

According to Navy officials, the Department of the Navy made its 
recent decision to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at 
Naval Station Mayport using its strategic laydown and strategic 
dispersal processes and its environmental planning guidance documents. 
In addition, the Navy stated in its record of decision that the most 
critical considerations in making the decision were the environmental 
impacts, recurring and nonrecurring costs associated with changes in 
surface ship homeporting options, and strategic dispersal 
considerations. However, according to its record of decision, the need 
to develop a hedge against the potentially crippling results of a 
catastrophic event was ultimately the determining factor in the Navy's 
decision to establish a second nuclear-powered aircraft carrier 
homeport on the East Coast of the United States at Mayport. 

The Navy has historically had multiple aircraft carrier homeports on 
each coast. Currently, the Navy has three nuclear-powered aircraft 
carrier homeports on the West Coast--Bremerton and Everett, 
Washington, and San Diego, California--and one East Coast carrier 
homeport in the Hampton Roads area, which includes Norfolk and Newport 
News, Virginia.[Footnote 33] According to Navy officials,[Footnote 34] 
the Navy used elements of its strategic laydown process existing at 
the time the Mayport decision was in the process of being made to 
apportion the fleet to the Pacific (West) Coast, to the Atlantic 
(East) Coast based on its force structure analysis. According to 
officials, the process relies on several documents, including 
conventional campaign plans; homeland defense requirements; the 
Cooperative Strategy for the 21st Century Seapower, Navy 2030 Ashore 
Vision; the 2001 and 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, and the Global 
Maritime Posture. Based on these strategic laydown analyses, the Navy 
developed a baseline for the total Navy force structure to try to 
optimize the sourcing of forces based on the speed of response, the 
maritime strategy, and the Quadrennial Defense Review direction. 

Using the output from the strategic laydown process, Navy officials 
said that they performed its strategic dispersal process, which 
allowed the Navy to further assess and determine the distribution of 
the fleet by homeport based on strategic requirements and the ability 
to balance operational, fiscal, and infrastructure factors. Based on 
its analysis, the Navy decided to establish a second East Coast 
homeport for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Navy officials said 
that the Navy worked on the assumption that it would not establish a 
new carrier homeport but upgrade an existing carrier homeport to 
support nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Navy officials said that 
Naval Station Mayport was the best option because it was an existing 
conventional carrier homeport with underutilized facilities since the 
USS John F. Kennedy was retired in 2007. 

According to Navy officials, the Navy used its strategic dispersal 
process to evaluate key operational factors, such as response time to 
combatant commands, transit times to deployment areas and training, 
geographic location of air wings, historic aircraft carrier loading, 
physical pier capacity, transit times for pier side to open ocean, 
antiterrorism and force protection, and mitigation of natural and man- 
made risks for both the Hampton Roads area and Naval Station Mayport. 
For example, the Navy believes the following constitute risk factors 
associated with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier consolidation in 
Hampton Roads: (1) singular homeport, maintenance, and support 
location; (2) all of the Atlantic Fleet nuclear-powered aircraft 
carrier trained crews, associated community support infrastructure, 
and nuclear carrier support facilities within a 15 nautical mile 
radius; (3) single 32 nautical mile access channel with two major 
choke points (bridges); (4) approximately 3-hour transit time from 
carrier piers to open ocean; and (5) the planned significant increase 
in commercial shipping volume because of the planned Craney Island 
upgrades. Furthermore, the Navy used the U.S. Coast Guard's Port 
Threat Assessments for the Coast Guard Sectors of Hampton Roads and 
Mayport, which determined that the overall threat level for Hampton 
Roads is moderate, while the overall threat level for Mayport is low. 
According to the threat assessments, a moderate threat level indicates 
a potential threat exists against the port and that one or more groups 
have either the intention or capability to employ large casualty- 
production attacks or cause denial of commercial, military, and 
passenger vessel access to the port, while a low threat level 
indicates that little or no information exists on one or more groups 
with a capability or intention to damage the port. 

Navy officials also identified the following benefits associated with 
homeporting a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station 
Mayport: 

* the shortest access to the Atlantic Ocean of any current Navy 
homeport, 

* additional dispersed controlled industrial facility and nuclear 
maintenance capabilities, 

* physical separation of East Coast nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 

* physical separation between piers and shipping lanes, 

* smaller commercial shipping traffic volume, and: 

* strategic and operational flexibility. 

Using the Navy's environmental planning guidance documents, officials 
from the Navy's Fleet Forces Command completed a final environmental 
impact statement in November 2008, in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act, to evaluate a broad range of strategic 
homeport and dispersal options for Atlantic Fleet surface ships at 
Naval Station Mayport. Several analyses were conducted of geology and 
soils, wetlands and floodplains, water resources, air quality, noise, 
biological resources, cultural resources, hazardous and toxic 
substances and waste, and environmental health and safety. These 
analyses also included a summary of the environmental impacts and 
mitigation measures. As part of the environmental impact statement, 
cost estimates were also developed. The Navy's environmental analysis 
included consultations with regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, 
regarding impacts to endangered and threatened species, and the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency 
regarding dredging operations and the in-water disposal of dredged 
materials. In addition, public awareness and participation were 
integral components of the environmental impact statement process. The 
Navy took steps to provide members of the public, state agencies, and 
federal agencies with the opportunity to help define the scope of the 
Navy's analysis as well as examine and consider the studies undertaken 
by the Navy. Fleet Forces Command prepared the National Environmental 
Policy Act documentation and supporting studies that defined the 
proposed action and range of alternatives and identified the potential 
mitigation options. 

The Navy's final environmental impact statement for Mayport assessed 
the impacts of 13 alternatives, including the no action alternative: 

* Alternative 1: Cruiser homeport, destroyer homeport, or both. 

* Alternative 2: Amphibious Assault Ship homeport. 

* Alternative 3: Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier capable. 

* Alternative 4: Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier homeport. 

* Alternative 5: Amphibious Ready Group homeport. 

* Alternatives 6-12: Seven different combinations of the first four 
alternatives. 

* Alternative 13: No action. No additional fleet surface ships would 
be homeported at Naval Station Mayport, and Mayport would retain the 
ability to berth a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in a limited 
fashion. 

The 13 alternatives evaluated a broad range of options for homeporting 
surface ships at Navy Station Mayport, such as permanent assignment of 
various types of surface ships and personnel. In addition, 
Alternatives 3 and 4 differ because a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier 
capable alternative provides for port services--loading and unloading 
cargo and sailors and access without restrictions for visits up to 63 
days per year. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier homeport would 
permanently assign a carrier and its personnel to Naval Station 
Mayport, which would provide facilities to perform depot-level 
maintenance at that location. 

In the final environmental impact statement, the Navy identified 
alternative 4 as the preferred alternative; which involves homeporting 
one nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport and 
includes dredging, infrastructure and wharf improvements, on-station 
road and parking improvements, and construction of nuclear-powered 
aircraft carrier propulsion plant maintenance facilities. Other 
factors that influenced the selection of alternative 4 as the 
preferred alternative included impact analyses in the environmental 
impact statement and estimated costs of implementation, including 
military construction costs and other operation and sustainment costs. 
For example, the Navy's analysis showed that there are no 
environmental impacts associated with homeporting a nuclear-powered 
aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport that cannot be appropriately 
addressed or mitigated, including impacts to endangered species, such 
as the Florida manatee and sea turtles. In addition, the Navy reported 
that the projected recurring and nonrecurring costs for the preferred 
alternative are less than 10 percent of the cost of a single nuclear- 
powered aircraft carrier and less than 1 percent of the cost of the 
Department of the Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier assets. The 
Navy believes that homeporting a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at 
Naval Station Mayport is a way to provide additional security for the 
carrier and enhance deployment capability. In November 2008, the Navy 
made its final environmental impact statement available, and the 
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment) signed 
the Navy's formal record of decision on January 14, 2009, to homeport 
a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Mayport. 

2010 Quadrennial Defense Review of the Navy's Decision: 

After the Navy decided to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier 
at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, the Secretary of Defense announced 
that he would review the Navy's decision as part of DOD's 2010 
Quadrennial Defense Review. The Secretary of Defense directed the 
Quadrennial Defense Review working group to assess the Navy's Mayport 
decision. According to OSD officials, the Navy provided supporting 
documentation regarding its decision to the working group, which used 
this information in conducting its analysis. 

In conducting its review, the Quadrennial Defense Review working group 
assessed the Navy's decision against nine implementation criteria: (1) 
execution of current or planned operations, (2) operational 
flexibility, (3) operational management of the force, (4) 
institutional provisions of the force, (5) organizational friction, 
(6) execution of future missions successfully against an array of 
future challenges, (7) consideration of the whole of government 
programs and initiatives, (8) international relations, and (9) 
environmental concerns. In addition, OSD officials stated that the 
working group assessed transit times for a nuclear-powered aircraft 
carrier to leave both the Norfolk and Mayport ports and arrive in the 
Atlantic Ocean. 

As a part of the working group's review, officials in DOD's Office of 
Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation stated that they evaluated the 
reasonableness of the Navy's cost estimate to establish a homeport for 
a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Mayport. Specifically, the 
officials said that they reviewed and assessed the military personnel, 
operations and maintenance, and military construction costs associated 
with the Navy's decision and found that the Navy's cost estimates were 
reasonable. For example, OSD officials stated that the working group 
was provided the following dollar amounts--a onetime cost of $565 
million to build the necessary infrastructure at Mayport and $25 
million as the recurring cost for operations and maintenance for 
homeporting a nuclear-powered aircraft at Mayport. In addition, the 
officials said that the working group used these analyses and cost 
estimates to brief the Secretary of Defense on its results. The 
February 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review report reiterated the Navy's 
decision that homeporting an East Coast carrier in Mayport would 
contribute to mitigating the risk of a terrorist attack, accident, or 
natural disaster. 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Brian J. Lepore, (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov: 

Acknowledgments: 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] We use "force structure" to mean military equipment (numbers, 
size, and composition of the units that constitute U.S. defense 
forces, e.g., divisions, ships, and air wings) and military personnel. 

[2] Congress authorized the 2005 round of the BRAC process with the 
passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
2002, Pub. L. No. 107-107, § 3001 (2001), which extended the authority 
of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 
101-510, Title XXIX (1990), with some modifications. Under the BRAC 
process, the Secretary of Defense must follow specific legislative 
requirements in making recommendations to realign or close military 
installations. 

[3] H.R. Rep. No. 111-166, at 537-538. 

[4] The Army's regulation and the Air Force's instruction regarding 
basing were being updated during our review; we used both the old and 
new versions. 

[5] GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1] 
(Washington, D.C.: November 1999). 

[6] The five standards of internal control are control environment, 
risk assessment, control activities, information and communications, 
and monitoring. 

[7] The Department of the Navy includes the operating forces of the 
Marine Corps. 10 U.S.C. § 5061(4). 

[8] 10 U.S.C. § 3013(b), (c); § 5013(b), (c); § 8013(b), (c); and § 
113(b). This authority is also subject to the assignment of forces to 
the combatant commands. See § 162. 

[9] See 10 U.S.C. § 162(a); see also § 3013(b), (c), (g); § 5013(b), 
(c), (g); § 8013(b), (c), (g); Department of Defense Directive 5100.1, 
Functions of the Department of Defense and Its Major Components (Aug. 
1, 2002). 

[10] 10 U.S.C. § 113(b). 

[11] 10 U.S.C. § 113(d). 

[12] 10 U.S.C. § 131(a). 

[13] 10 U.S.C. § 133(b)(3). 

[14] 10 U.S.C. § 118. 

[15] The Navy's five guidance documents: (1) Chief of Naval Operations 
Instruction 5400.44: Navy Organization Change Manual (Oct. 5, 2007); 
(2) Strategic Laydown Flow Chart; (3) Strategic Dispersal Flow Chart; 
(4) Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 5090.1C: Environmental 
Readiness Program Manual (Oct. 30, 2007); and (5) Secretary of the 
Navy Instruction 5090.6A: Environmental Planning for Department of the 
Navy Actions (Apr. 26, 2004). Navy officials stated that the flow 
charts are guiding documents. We are using the term guidance to 
describe all of the Navy's documents to implement its basing process. 

[16] In assessing military value, DOD components typically identify 
multiple attributes, facets, or evaluative components related to each 
military value criteria, then identify a number of qualitative metrics 
and numerous questions to collect data to support the overall military 
value analysis. 

[17] The five standards of internal control are control environment, 
risk assessment, control activities, information and communications, 
and monitoring. 

[18] Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government provides 
that risk assessment is the identification and analysis of relevant 
risks associated with achieving agency objectives, and the specific 
risk analysis methodology used can vary by agency because of 
differences in agencies' missions and the difficulty in qualitatively 
and quantitatively assigning risk levels. [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1]. 

[19] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1]. 

[20] The Army and Air Force had prior versions of their regulation and 
instruction, respectively, for basing, but these documents were 
currently under revision at the time of our review. We used both the 
old and new versions and held discussions with service officials 
regarding the revisions. The Navy and Marine Corps have current 
versions of their basing guidance documents. 

[21] DOD components include Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and 
Defense Agencies. 

[22] Department of Defense, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (February 
2010). 

[23] Realigning the U.S. overseas posture involves closing obsolete 
and redundant bases, constructing new facilities costing billions of 
dollars, and ensuring that other needed infrastructure is in place to 
support realigned forces and missions. 

[24] GAO, Force Structure: Actions Needed to Improve DOD's Ability to 
Manage, Assess, and Report on Global Defense Posture Initiatives, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-706R] (Washington, 
D.C.: July 2, 2009). 

[25] H.R. Rep. No. 111-166, at 537-538. 

[26] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1]. 

[27] Pub. L. No. 101-510, § 1423 (1990). 

[28] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993, Pub. L. 
No. 102-484, § 1011(b) (1992), and National Defense Authorization Act 
for Fiscal Year 1995, Pub. L. No. 103-337, § 2206(a) (1994). However, 
Congress explicitly indicated that the provision in the National 
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 should not be 
interpreted as authorizing the Secretary to actually proceed with the 
construction of facilities specifically designed to make Mayport 
capable of serving as a homeport. The design activities were to begin 
at the conclusion of a facilities study and programmatic environmental 
impact study. 

[29] Pub. L. No.102-484, § 1011(a)(3). 

[30] Department of the Navy, Final Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement for Facilities Development Necessary to Support Potential 
Aircraft Carrier Homeporting at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, March 
1997. 

[31] On November 21, 2008, the Navy released the Notice of 
Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the 
Proposed Homeporting of Additional Surface Ships at Naval Station 
Mayport, Florida. 

[32] Department of the Navy, Record of Decision for Homeporting of 
Additional Surface Ships at Naval Station Mayport, FL (Jan. 14, 2009), 
available at [hyperlink, http://www.mayporthomeportingeis.com]. The 
decision was signed by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy 
(Installations and Environment). 

[33] In the Pacific, the Navy also forward deploys a nuclear-powered 
aircraft carrier at Yokosuka, Japan. 

[34] Officials within the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval 
Operations (Information, Plans and Strategy) provided GAO with the 
information in regard to the Navy's decision to homeport a nuclear- 
powered aircraft carrier at Mayport. Unless information is attributed 
to a different Navy organization, these Navy officials provided us 
with the information described in this appendix. 

[End of section] 

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