Delays in Disposing of Former Communication Sites in Alaska:

Millions in Property Lost and Public Safety Jeopardized

PLRD-81-28: Published: May 28, 1981. Publicly Released: May 28, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the problems in the Air Force's efforts to dispose of real and personal property at White Alice Communication System sites in Alaska.

GAO visited seven closed sites and found that security is minimal, and break-ins are common. No maintenance has been performed, much property is missing, vandalism is extensive, and items of value are still at the sites. GAO found large quantities of bulk fuels and dangerous chemicals at six sites. The Air Force does not intend to dispose of real property at collocated sites; sites which are at, or close to, active military installations. In 1977, the Alaskan Air Command (AAC) developed a plan for removing personal property from collocated sites and later removed some supplies and equipment. However, according to AAC, funding constraints in early 1980 effectively ended further property removal. Disposal of real property at noncollocated sites can begin only after the real property is reported to a disposal agency. By law, the military must wait 30 days after making an excess report to Congress before real property is reported to a disposal agency. As of August 1980, the Air Force had reported only one site as excess to Congress. The disposal of personal property has been delayed because of disagreement between AAC and the General Services Administration. An AAC analysis showed that it would not be cost effective to remove personal property from noncollocated sites and return it the Air Force supply system. However, GAO found that the value of some property removed was significantly more than the cost to return it to the supply system.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should require AAC to establish a time limit for reporting closed White Alice sites to Congress.

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

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should require AAC to properly dispose of real and personal property as quickly as possible.

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

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should assure that White Alice sites are properly maintained until disposal is completed.

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

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should inspect sites periodically to assure they are safe until disposal is completed.

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

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should rid sites of dangerous chemicals and environmental pollutants.

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

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should require AAC to use combat distribution teams for returning property from White Alice sites when this is cost effective.

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

 

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