Military Bases:

Analysis of DOD's Recommendations and Selection Process for Closures and Realignments

NSIAD-93-173: Published: Apr 15, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 1993.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reported on the Secretary of Defense's recommendations and selection process to close and realign 165 military bases.

GAO found that: (1) the Secretary of Defense based the recommendations on the Department of Defense's (DOD) selection criteria and a 6-year force structure plan; (2) DOD believed that the recommendations would result in a total net savings of $4 billion between fiscal years 1994 and 1999; (3) the recommended base closures and realignments for 1995 combined with those approved in 1988 and 1991 would reduce the domestic base structure by 15 percent; (4) the Navy's site selection process stressed reduction of excess capacity and recommended base closure even when a base's military value was higher than the bases that remained open; (5) the Army did not recommend one base for closure due to environmental clean-up costs, and did not exclude those costs from its cost-of-closure calculations; (6) the Air Force's documentation did not justify its recommendations for base closures; (7) the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) overstated estimated savings of its realignments; (8) DOD did not provide strong oversight during the selection process which resulted in some technical problems and cost it the opportunity to consider consolidation of maintenance facilities on a DOD-wide basis; and (9) despite GAO recommendations, DOD believes its responsibility is to determine whether its recommendations will result in savings to DOD, without consideration of the effects on other federal agencies.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD provided policy guidance governing cross-service groups for BRAC 1995. While some reductions in excess capacity were achieved within each service in support areas, DOD's efforts to encourage cross-servicing met with limited success. The recommendation is no longer applicable, since DOD submitted its recommendations to BRAC on February 28, 1995.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should provide detailed policies and procedures for future cross-service opportunities including setting common standards and measures; also, in order for these actions to be effective, they must be started soon and have established milestones that are compatible with the time frames for the 1995 closure and realignment process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD's policy decision for BRAC 1995 was to place priority on military value in making BRAC decisions and not to establish threshold values for economic impact. The recommendation is no longer applicable, since BRAC 1995 decisionmaking has been completed and no further BRAC rounds are authorized under existing BRAC legislation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish a supportable standard for assessing cumulative economic impact and review its process to make sure there is sufficient time to consider the results of these assessments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Base Closure Commission believes that DOD should develop economic impact data independently and submit it to the Commission along with DOD recommendations. GAO concurs.

    Recommendation: The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission should consider providing guidance to DOD on assessing cumulative economic impact.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: While some improvements were made in the Air Force evaluation process for BRAC 1995, certain aspects of the process remained largely subjective and not well documented. The recommendation is no longer applicable since BRAC 1995 decisionmaking is completed and no further BRAC rounds are authorized under current legislation.

    Recommendation: For the 1995 round of base closure and realignments, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to establish procedures to fully describe all decision justifications and expand the Air Force Audit Agency involvement to include validating the military value grading.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Future reductions in the military services' inventory needs were incorporated in DLA's 1995 BRAC decisionmaking and enabled DLA to recommend closure of a number of facilities.

    Recommendation: For the 1995 round of base closure and realignments, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director, DLA, to consider future reductions in the military services' inventory when assessing capacity needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Base Closure Commission considered the recommendation in developing its recommendations to the President on July 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: The Base Closure and Realignment Commission should consider closely analyzing those Navy recommendations where: (1) the base recommended for closure had a higher military value than ones that are remaining open; (2) judgments and assumptions about the future were critical to the recommendations; and (3) an alternative scenario would have produced approximately the same amount of excess capacity reduction and military value, but cost and savings were not analyzed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Base Closure Commission considered the recommendation in developing its recommendations to the President on July 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: The Base Closure and Realignment Commission should consider closely analyzing the Army recommendations relating to the realignment cost of the Defense Language Institute and reexamine the Army's justification for not including Fort Monroe on the closure list.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Base Closure Commission considered the recommendation in developing its recommendations to the President on July 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: The Base Closure and Realignment Commission should consider requesting the Air Force to provide additional information where necessary to support the basis for its recommendations, in those cases where it is not evident from existing documentation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Base Closure Commission considered the recommendation in developing its recommendations to the President on July 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: The Base Closure and Realignment Commission should consider closely analyzing DLA cost and savings estimates and include the DLA McClellan Air Force Base distribution depot in its considerations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Base Closure Commission considered the recommendation in developing its recommendations to the President on July 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: The Base Closure and Realignment Commission should consider requesting DOD to provide its most current work-load data projections on the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) consolidation in order to better consider DISA recommendations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD policy guidance issued December 29, 1994, stated that, in general, DOD components need not consider costs and savings to other federal agencies in their calculation of BRAC 1995 costs and savings unless they would occur as a direct result of BRAC-related actions and DOD was directly responsible for paying the costs. While GAO continues to believe that governmentwide costs and savings estimates are important to the BRAC process, the recommendation is no longer applicable since the BRAC 1995 decisionmaking process is now over.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD cost and savings estimates, the Secretary of Defense should identify the governmentwide implications of the 1995 base closures and realignment recommendations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has formed working groups to develop improvements to the COBRA model for BRAC 95.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD cost and savings estimates, the Secretary of Defense should form working groups similar to those that previously addressed the limitations of the cost model and address problems experienced during the 1993 round. At a minimum, the group should focus on those problems that affect estimating overhead costs for realigning activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD must modify its base closure process before the 1995 round of closures. OSD guidance for BRAC 1995 is more comprehensive than for prior (1991 and 1993) base closure rounds.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should provide specific direction and supervision over the base closure and realignment process to ensure consistent data collection and analysis among DOD components.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Base Closure Commission considered the recommendations in developing its base closure recommendations to the President on July 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: The Base Closure and Realignment Commission should have DOD: (1) identify those closures and realignments that have cost and savings implications that affect other federal agencies; and (2) closely examine those recommendations that could be affected by the weaknesses in the cost model and that are sensitive to changes in military construction costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure

 

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