Defense Budget:

Analysis of Operation and Maintenance Accounts for 1985-2001

NSIAD-97-73: Published: Feb 28, 1997. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1997.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) budget request for fiscal year (FY) 1997 for its operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts, focusing on: (1) how annual funding relates to military and civilian personnel levels through 2001; (2) overall trends from fiscal years 1985 though 2001; and (3) key areas in which most money has been budgeted through 2001.

GAO found that: (1) total DOD O&M funds, in constant FY 1997 dollars, are projected to decline at a slower rate than either civilian or military personnel levels between fiscal years 1985 and 2001; (2) however, beginning in FY 2000, projections show that O&M funds begin to rise at the same time civilian personnel decline and military personnel remain relative stable; (3) increases in other O&M-funded programs will more than offset the decline in O&M-funded civilian salaries; (4) since 1993, approximately 85 percent of the funds are concentrated in five budget accounts; (5) another data view shows that three major defense programs receive the majority of annual O&M funds; (6) between fiscal years 1993 and 2001, about 50 percent of annual O&M funds are found in five of DOD's mission categories; (7) in total, there are about 30 mission categories during the FY 1993-2001 time period; (8) from an organizational perspective, the military services' portion of total annual O&M funds declines; (9) beginning in FY 1998, the Army is projected to receive a smaller proportion of annual O&M funds than either of the other two services or the combined DOD agencies; (10) even though the Army will receive the smallest portion of annual O&M funds, this service will have the second largest active military force and the largest civilian workforce; (11) the Navy-Marine Corps' share of annual O&M funds declined by almost 10 percent prior to FY 1996; (12) in contrast, the Air Force's proportion of annual O&M funds changes the least of the three services, while Air Force military and civilian personnel levels fall significantly over the FY 1985-2001 time period; (13) only the combined DOD agencies' share of annual O&M funds increases between fiscal years 1985 and 2001 because of the health program funding consolidation into a Defensewide account; (14) regardless of how the O&M budget is analyzed, medical is the only area where consistent growth occurred; (15) O&M funds for medical activities increase by 72.8 percent from fiscal years 1985 through 2001; (16) the majority of these costs are for the health care needs of DOD's 8.3 million eligible beneficiaries; (17) during fiscal years 1985 through 2001, O&M infrastructure funds that can be clearly identified in the Future Years Defense Program decline by 22.6 percent and thus mirror total O&M trends; (18) despite increases, O&M continues to fund about half of DOD's clearly identifiable infrastructure costs; and (19) thus, if DOD is to identify significant savings from infrastructure to fund modernization, it must look to the O&M appropriations.

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