Proposals for Enhancing DOD's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Construction Program

FPCD-80-67: Published: Aug 27, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1980.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) considers morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) activities important to unit identity and improved readiness of service members. However, the readiness of construction programs for facilities to house activities such as sports, libraries, arts and crafts, and military clubs do not always insure that the most urgent needs of active duty personnel are being met.

GAO found that the services have been operating under a fiscal environment of escalating construction costs, budgetary constraints, and a large backlog of facility needs which cannot presently be funded. DOD had approved some facility construction projects which were larger than needed, inadequately planned, not adequately documented as to the need, or intended primarily for other than active duty personnel. The need for MWR facilities is particularly important at overseas locations where few recreational opportunties exist in the surrounding community or where the cost of using available facilities is prohibitive. However, the services are directing the major portion of funding emphasis to installations in the continental United States (CONUS). Of $103 million in construction costs in fiscal year 1979, $70 million was spent for construction in CONUS. Strengthening the project planning, review, approval, and funding processes would help insure that projects constructed fulfill the most urgent needs. DOD has initiated recent program improvements. However, the programs still do not insure that: (1) projects developed are the most cost-effective size to meet the needs of active duty personnel; (2) the review and approval processes adequately place priorities and document needs to insure that the most urgent needs are being met with limited construction funds; and (3) funding methodology provides for the most effective and equitable delivery of facilities.

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