Review of the Proposed Closure of Fort Monroe, Virginia

LCD-79-318: Published: Jul 20, 1979. Publicly Released: Jul 20, 1979.

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GAO reviewed the Army's plan to transfer of Command Headquarters from Fort Monroe, Virginia, to Fort Eustis, Virginia, in 1984, and the inactivation of other Army units at Fort Monroe.

The decision to close Fort Monroe should be deferred until the Army has made a comprehensive estimate of all costs involved. Since the Fort is registered as a national historic landmark, the Army is legally obligated to proceed with the ordnance removal process in a manner consistent with the preservation of items of historical significance. The work would probably require hand shoveling by experienced ordnance and archeological personnel. GAO considers an Army estimate of $2.5 million for clearance of the moat to be too low. The Army must also determine which of the Fort's structures require special preservation, and whether the Fort will remain under Government control and thus subject to U.S. Government-funded caretaker costs. Because of these undetermined cost items, the Army stated that it could not at this time take a position on whether the decision to close Fort Monroe is economically justified.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Army must obtain sufficient information in order to determine whether it is feasible or even possible to clear Fort Monroe of ordnance. In order to estimate the work involved and the total costs and savings, the Army must: (1) determine the extent and depth of unexploded ordnance; (2) consider the availability of archeologists to assist in clearing the area to preserve artifacts; and (3) identify the buildings to be maintained and the ultimate custodian of the Fort. Until the Army has completed its study of all the costs involved, including costs to decontaminate the entire Fort, the Secretary of Defense should defer a decision on closing Fort Monroe.

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