Military Base Closures:

Progress in Completing Actions from Prior Realignments and Closures

GAO-02-433: Published: Apr 5, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 2002.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Brian J. Lepore
(202) 512-5581
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Through military base realignment and closures rounds in 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995, the Pentagon significantly reduced its domestic infrastructure and freed up needed dollars for high-priority programs. By the end of last round in fiscal year 2001, the Department of Defense (DOD) had closed or realigned hundreds of bases, generated savings, and transferred unneeded property to other users. The communities surrounding the former bases continue to recover economically from the closures. Congress recently authorized another round of base realignments and closures beginning in 2005. DOD has saved $16.7 billion through fiscal year 2001, and expects to save $6.6 billion in annually in future years. Although DOD plans to transfer nearly all of the 518,500 acres of unneeded base property to federal and nonfederal users, it has completed only some of the transfers. Environmental cleanup is the primary impediment to conveying the remaining property titles. The military services are using early transfer authority and leasing to make property available for reuse sooner. Although successful redevelopment of base property plays a key role in the economic recovery of neighboring communities, broader regional economic growth also is important to the process. Two economic indicators--the unemployment rate and average annual real capita income growth rate--show that most communities are doing well compared with average U.S. rates, despite delays in the transfer or reuse of former base property. But questions remain about some communities' ability to sustain their economic recovery over time, particularly in light of the recent downturn in the national economy.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DOD concurred with the recommendation that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer), develop a defense-wide systematic approach for the periodic updating of initial closure savings estimates for the new base realignment and closure round scheduled for 2005. As of August 22, 2006, DOD has not yet taken action on the recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor the status of the recommendation in subsequent reviews of DOD's ongoing implementation of the 2005 BRAC round recommendations.

    Recommendation: As part of the new base realignment and closure round scheduled for 2005, the Under Secretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (comptroller and chief financial officer), should develop a Defensewide systematic approach for the periodic updating of initial closure savings estimates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on this report, DOD concurred with the recommendation that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer), develop an oversight mechanism to ensure that the military services and components periodically update their closure savings estimates in accordance with the prescribed approach. As of August 22, 2006, DOD has not yet taken action on the recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor the status of the recommendation in subsequent reviews of DOD's ongoing implementation actions for the 2005 BRAC round.

    Recommendation: As part of the new base realignment and closure round scheduled for 2005, the Under Secretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (comptroller and chief financial officer), should develop an oversight mechanism to ensure that the military services and components update such estimates in accordance with the prescribed approach.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation to work with communities impacted by the base closure process to expand the use of the early transfer authority. DOD has since acted on the recommendation. DOD issued an Early Transfer Guide in May 2004 to promote more use of the early transfer authority. Further, our recent work in a follow-up review of the status of the prior closure rounds showed that use of the authority has increased considerably from about 8,225 acres transfered under the authority (as reported in 2002)to about 18,500 acres in 2004.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should encourage the Secretaries of the military services to work with communities impacted by the base closure process to expand the use of the early transfer authority in those cases where the department can accelerate the transfer of unneeded former base property and save money.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Dec 16, 2014

Dec 12, 2014

Dec 11, 2014

Dec 1, 2014

Nov 21, 2014

Nov 20, 2014

Nov 19, 2014

Nov 18, 2014

Oct 30, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here