Natural Resources and Environment:

DOD Can Increase Revenues Through Better Use of Natural Resources It Holds in Trust

PLRD-82-9: Published: Nov 25, 1981. Publicly Released: Nov 25, 1981.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

James G. Mitchell
(202) 275-8676
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Almost 25 million acres of land throughout the United States and its possessions have been set aside for the use of the Department of Defense (DOD). These lands, of which about two-thirds are undeveloped, contain vast natural resources helpful to the nation's economy and quality of life. To ensure optimal use of its lands and their natural resources, DOD requires all military bases to manage lands encompassing vast natural resources under the multiple-use principle. This means that bases must exercise balanced, coordinated management of all resources, applying the best combination of developmental and protective land uses, consistent with the military mission. GAO reviewed the effectiveness and efficiency of military bases in managing these lands to determine how revenues can be increased and the multiple uses of the land can be improved.

GAO found that, in fiscal year 1980, military bases managed 2.3 million acres of forest and sold $12.3 million worth of timber and related products. Although most of the forestry programs were well managed, several forestry plans lacked a system for monitoring program effectiveness, were outdated, and had not been properly reviewed and approved. In addition, inadequate coordination, poor planning, and general management apathy prevented timber sales and the bases' agricultural leasing programs from reaching and maintaining maximum benefits. GAO also found that the bases needed to improve their management of large areas of scenic wilderness, woodland, and waterways which are rich in wildlife and recreational resources. Although DOD has encouraged its bases to enter into cooperative agreements with appropriate state and federal agencies and to collect hunting and fishing fees to help support fish and wildlife programs and recreational areas, many bases have not done so and have failed to use available technical expertise when planning and managing these valuable resources. As a result, plans are often inadequate or nonexistent, and military managers can neither gauge program effectiveness nor identify potential recreational areas. GAO believes that, by improving its management practices, DOD could collect an additional $3 million annually in revenue.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to prevent unnecessary restrictions on timber harvesting.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to accelerate timber harvesting wherever possible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to aggressively pursue the market for forest by-products as a source of additional income.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to establish procedures to update and improve base soil and water conservation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to establish procedures to develop and implement a system to identify periodically all land available for leasing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to establish procedures to require the maximum leasing of agricultural land consistent with the military mission.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should determine the feasibility of operating the leasing program similar to the forestry program and seek legislative changes in the program if warranted.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to require military bases to develop and update effective cooperative agreements and management plans for fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to assess more equitable user fees, where possible, for hunting and fishing to finance fish and wildlife programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to maintain updated forestry plans for bases with clearly stated objectives, priorities, and monitoring systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to identify all opportunities for public outdoor recreation and implement feasible programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2014

Sep 19, 2014

Sep 15, 2014

Sep 12, 2014

Sep 9, 2014

Aug 11, 2014

Jul 28, 2014

Jul 16, 2014

Jul 15, 2014

Jul 9, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here