Military Base Closures:

Detailed Budget Requests Could Improve Visibility

NSIAD-97-170: Published: Jul 14, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 1997.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) accounts and made recommendations on the validity of the Department of Defense's (DOD) proposed budget request for base closure activities. GAO did not independently determine the reliability of this information.

GAO noted that: (1) because the first BRAC account for 1988 base closures is no longer funded and part II (1991 closure round) of the second BRAC account will no longer be funded after September 30, 1997, DOD included continuous funding requirements for 1988 and 1991 base closure activities in part III of its fiscal year (FY) 1998 appropriation request; (2) GAO's review of the supporting documentation in DOD's FY 1998 budget justification books showed that data required to support continued funding for the 1988 and 1991 closure rounds were identified in the aggregate without detailed information by individual bases; however, the information provided for the 1993 and 1995 closure rounds contains these details; (3) the lack of detailed information for the 1988 and 1991 closure rounds limits visibility of planned expenditures and adjustments to estimated savings for these bases; (4) further, if the current trend of prolonged environmental restoration costs continues and detailed justification data continue to decrease for older BRAC rounds, less visibility of planned expenditures and changes to estimated savings will result; (5) the high unobligated balances in the BRAC account that GAO reported last year are being reduced; (6) if DOD continues to obligate BRAC funds at the current rate, unobligated balances will decline from $986.5 million at the beginning of FY 1997 to $200 million at the end of the fiscal year; and (7) in addition, DOD and the Air Force reduced their 1998 BRAC appropriation requests by a total of $124 million to control future unobligated balances.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Congress does not plan to require DOD to modify its presentation of information in its annual BRAC budget submission.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider requiring DOD to provide more complete information in its budget requests for closed rounds that is comparable to the information supplied for active ones. Although this requirement would result in some additional justification paperwork for DOD, it would afford Congress better visibility over the use of funds for all affected bases.

 

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