Operation Desert Shield/Storm:

Costs and Funding Requirements

NSIAD-91-304: Published: Sep 24, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the incremental cost of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, focusing on: (1) the executive branch's cost estimates and funding requirements for the operations; (2) the extent to which the United States needs to provide any additional funding; and (3) how the Department of Defense (DOD) and the individual services tracked the operations' costs.

GAO found: (1) the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cost estimate of $47.5 billion for Desert Shield/Storm was overstated due to higher-than-actual costs incurred by revolving fund accounts, overestimated maintenance needs, replacement of recoverable munitions, and procurements that were cancelled due to the operations' short duration; (2) foreign contributions to the Defense Cooperation Account should total $48.3 billion, almost $800 million more than the OMB funding requirement estimate, and assuming that countries continue to fulfill their pledges, the $15 billion appropriated to the Persian Gulf Regional Defense Fund will not be needed; (3) tracking incremental costs for the operation was difficult because the services only captured total costs at the unit level and did not subtract the costs they would have normally incurred had there been no crisis in the Persian Gulf; and (4) cost data are aggregated into broad and general categories that make it difficult to verify whether or not specific costs have been properly charged to the operation.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation is repeated in NSIAD-92-194.

    Matter: When contributions to the Defense Cooperation Account equal or exceed anticipated funding requirements, Congress should rescind the amount remaining in the Persian Gulf Regional Defense Fund before the fund would otherwise terminate.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation is repeated in NSIAD-92-194.

    Matter: Congress should use any remaining funds from the Defense Cooperation Account to cover other operation-related costs, such as reimbursing the U.S. Treasury for the $2.1 billion appropriated for fiscal year (FY) 1990 costs of the operation and the $320.5 million for Operation Provide Comfort, or paying for the costs occurring after FY 1995 associated with long-term personnel benefits, as authorized in the Persian Gulf Conflict Supplemental Authorization and Personnel Benefits Act.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: P.L. 102-229, passed in December 1991, appropriated funds for munitions as requested by DOD.

    Matter: Congress should not appropriate the $482 million for munitions requested in the July 9, 1991 supplemental until the requirement is clear.

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: P.L. 102-229, passed in December 1991, appropriated funds as requested by DOD.

    Matter: Congress should not transfer the $2.5 billion for maintenance costs into FY 1992 until the needs have been determined.

 

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