High-Risk Series:

Defense Infrastructure

HR-97-7: Published: Feb 1, 1997. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1997.

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GAO reviewed the difficult process of reducing the Department of Defense's (DOD) infrastructure, focusing on: (1) the need for infrastructure reductions and obstacles that have hindered DOD's ability to achieve significant cost savings in this area; (2) DOD's future years funding plan for infrastructure; and (3) areas in which GAO has identified opportunities for reductions.

GAO found that: (1) despite DOD's actions over the last 7 to 10 years to reduce operations and support costs, billions of dollars are wasted annually on inefficient and unneeded activities; (2) DOD has in recent years substantially downsized its force structure, however, it has not achieved commensurate reductions in operations and support costs; (3) for fiscal year 1997, DOD estimates that about $146 billion, or almost two thirds of its budget, will be for operations and support activities; (4) these activities, which DOD generally refers to as its support infrastructure, include maintaining installation facilities, providing nonunit training to the force, providing health care to military personnel and their families, repairing equipment, and buying and managing spare part inventories; (5) reducing the cost of excess infrastructure activities is critical to maintaining high levels of military capabilities; (6) DOD has found that infrastructure reductions are a difficult and painful process because achieving significant cost savings requires up-front investments, the closure of installations, and the elimination of military and civilian jobs; (7) DOD has also recognized that opportunities to streamline and reengineer its business practices could result in substantial savings, but it has made limited progress in accomplishing this; (8) DOD has programmed reductions in installation support funding due to base closures and realignments, however, overall infrastructure funding is projected to remain relatively constant through 2001; (9) breaking down cultural resistance to change, overcoming service parochialism, and setting forth a clear framework for a reduced defense infrastructure are key to avoiding waste and inefficiency; (10) to do this, the Secretary of Defense and the service Secretaries need to give greater structure to their efforts by developing an overall strategic plan; (11) the plan needs to establish time frames and identify organizations and personnel responsible for accomplishing fiscal and operational goals; (12) in developing the plan, DOD should consider using a variety of means to achieve reductions, including such things as consolidations, privatization, outsourcing, reengineering, and interservicing agreements; (13) DOD should also consider the need and timing for future base realignment and closure rounds, as suggested by the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission and other groups; and (14) GAO's work to date has identified numerous areas where infrastructure activities can be eliminated, streamlined, or reengineered to be made more efficient.

Below are the reports in this series:

High-Risk Series: An Overview HR-97-1, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Quick Reference Guide HR-97-2, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Defense Financial Management HR-97-3, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Defense Contract Management HR-97-4, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Defense Inventory Management HR-97-5, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Defense Weapon Systems Acquisition HR-97-6, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Defense Infrastructure HR-97-7, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: IRS Management HR-97-8, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Information Management and Technology HR-97-9, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Medicare HR-97-10, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Student Financial Aid HR-97-11, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Department of Housing and Urban Development HR-97-12, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Department of Energy Contract Management HR-97-13, Feb 1, 1997

High-Risk Series: Superfund Program Management HR-97-14, Feb 1, 1997

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