Military Bases:

Analysis of DOD's 1995 Process and Recommendations for Closure and Realignment

NSIAD-95-133: Published: Apr 14, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 1995.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the: (1) Secretary of Defense's recommendations for base closures and realignments; and (2) Department of Defense's (DOD) process for determining which DOD installations to close or realign.

GAO found that: (1) its preliminary estimate of net savings from base closures and realignments is about $17.3 billion over 20 years, but environmental restoration of closed facilities could offset these savings; (2) there have been discrepancies between DOD cost models and budget data; (3) DOD needs to pursue more cross-service use of facilities in order to achieve infrastructure reductions; (4) the 1995 DOD base realignment and closure (BRAC) process is generally sound and well documented, but some recommendations are questionable and should be given further consideration by the BRAC Commission; (5) DOD and the military services have improved the BRAC process by improving their cost and savings estimates and comparisons between units; (6) the Air Force's BRAC process continues to be too subjective and relies too heavily on preliminary cost considerations; (7) DOD infrastructure reductions have not matched its reductions in funding, personnel, and force structure; (8) DOD will continue to have excess capacity and infrastructure after the 1995 BRAC round; (9) DOD believes its fiscal year (FY) 1996 budget represents a 39-percent reduction from its FY 1985 budget; and (10) DOD needs a mechanism to handle changes and problems arising out of earlier BRAC rounds after BRAC authorization expires.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress continues to refuse DOD requests to authorize additional BRAC rounds. Additionally, implementing actions are under way or completed for most prior BRAC actions and DOD has not been willing to consider efforts to modify prior BRAC approved decisions.

    Matter: As Congress considers the need for future defense infrastructure reductions, it may wish to consider a process similar to that authorized in the 1990 BRAC legislation. In the meantime, Congress may wish to consider legislation to provide a process for reviewing and approving changes to prior BRAC round decisions that may encounter difficulties in implementation.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission analyzed a range of alternatives pertaining to the test and evaluation area; however, it did not result in significant closure or realignment decisions in this cross-service area. The recommendation is no longer applicable, since the BRAC Commission completed its decisionmaking for BRAC 1995 and submitted its report to the President on July 1, 1995.

    Recommendation: Because the services did not completely analyze the set of alternatives developed by the chairpersons of the cross-service groups for test and evaluation, the BRAC Commission may wish to have the services complete detailed analyses, including cost analyses, for its consideration.

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

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: No additional BRAC rounds are authorized under current legislation, and Congress has not yet acted to extend the current legislation and prescribe when a future BRAC round might be required. The BRAC Commission has suggested that another BRAC round not be held until 2001.

    Recommendation: If there is another BRAC round, the Secretary of Defense should begin the cross-service process 1 year before the services' BRAC process, and for each common support function studied, incorporate specific capacity reduction goals in the Office of the Secretary of Defense's initial BRAC guidance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: No additional BRAC rounds are authorized under current legislation, and Congress has not yet acted to extend the current legislation and prescribe when a future BRAC round might be required. The BRAC Commission has suggested that another BRAC round not be held until 2001.

    Recommendation: If there is another BRAC round, the Secretary of Defense should, prior to the BRAC round, identify and make the policy decisions necessary in each area to merge service functions that would result in further reductions in infrastructure.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: No additional BRAC rounds are authorized under current legislation, and Congress has not yet acted to extend the current legislation and prescribe when a future BRAC round might be required. The BRAC Commission has suggested that another BRAC round not be held until 2001.

    Recommendation: If Congress should mandate future BRAC rounds and DOD retains its eight selection criteria, the Secretary of the Air Force should more fully document all analyses and decisions, including cost data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission closely scrutinized the Air Force's initial and revised plans and recommendations regarding its depots and examined a number of other alternatives before recommending the closure or realignment of two Air Force depots.

    Recommendation: Given the uncertainty associated with the Air Force's recommendation regarding its depots, the BRAC Commission, at a minimum, should require more complete plans for eliminating excess capacity and infrastructure from the Air Force before approving the recommendation.

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

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force's recommendation to the BRAC Commission estimated that the one-time cost to realign Kirtland would be $275 million and the annual recurring savings would be $62 million. However, the BRAC Commission found that the one-time cost to enact the proposal would be $602 million with annual recurring savings of $2 million; thus, the Air Force's recommendation was rejected.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should closely examine expected cost savings and operational impacts associated with the Kirtland Air Force Base realignment.

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

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission considered total costs to the government where feasible, as evidenced by its examination of the Kirtland AFB recommendation.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should have DOD identify those closures and realignments that have costs and savings implications that affect other federal agencies.

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

  8. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission completed its work on BRAC 1995 without taking any formal actions affecting AGMC.

    Recommendation: In light of the available evidence indicating that closure of the Aerospace Guidance and Metrology (AGMC) Center may not be cost-effective, the BRAC Commission should consider requiring that DOD report to the Commission on the comparative cost-effectiveness of both options under consideration, privatization-in-place or the transfer of workload to other DOD depots, versus the current cost of performing AGMC operations.

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

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO worked with the BRAC Commission and the Army to obtain as accurate and consistent information as possible for use in the BRAC Commission's analysis of ammunition depots.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should ensure that the Army's ammunition depot recommendations are based upon accurate and consistent information and that corrected data would not materially affect military value assessments and final recommendations.

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

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission closely examined the proposed realignment of the Letterkenny Army Depot as well as other alternatives before finalizing its decision to approve the Letterkenny realignment.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission may want to examine the impact of the realignment of the Letterkenny Army Depot on the concept of consolidated maintenance, since the proposed realignment involves a change to a prior BRAC decision to consolidate tactical missile maintenance at a single location.

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

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission completed its work and made its recommendations to the President on July 1, 1995. In completing its work, the Commission found that the Army had complied to the extent possible with the 1993 Commission's directive to pursue all necessary environmental permits before submitting a recommendation to close Fort McClellan.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should ensure that the Army has met all permit requirements related to the closure of Fort McClellan.

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

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission closely examined the Army's recommendations in question and did not take exception to the process followed.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should further assess variances in the Army's selection process and make a determination, under its legislative authority, whether these variances represent substantial deviation from the selection criteria.

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

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission explored this issue as part of its review process but was unable to identify a potential DOD user willing to take over the facilities. The Commission concurred with the Secretary of Defense that if a sponsor desired to continue to operate the facilities, it could acquire them in the reuse process.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should explore the need for a DOD component or some other government agency to obtain the wind tunnel facility at the Naval Surface Weapons Center (NSWC) White Oak from the Navy in order to operate it in support of its mission.

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

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission, as part of its review process, closely examined costs and savings data associated with these facilities.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should thoroughly examine the basis for exclusions to the cost and savings data associated with closure and realignment scenarios such as NSWC Louisville, NSWC Indianapolis, and NSWC Lakehurst in the technical centers subcategory.

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

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission obtained updated cost data from the services in completing its decisionmaking; updated cost data were summarized in the Commission's report to the President.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should consider obtaining updated costs and savings data to the extent it is available and include this data in summary form in its report for the recommendations it forwards to the President for his consideration.

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

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The BRAC Commission added facilities to its list of bases to consider for closure and eventually recommended closure of two of them, with projected annual savings of about $13 million.

    Recommendation: The BRAC Commission should examine, from an equity standpoint, the Navy's exclusion of activities from closure and realignment consideration due to concerns over job losses.

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

 

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