Moving Air Force Operations From the Washington, D.C., Area Not Cost Effective

LCD-79-326: Published: Aug 30, 1979. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 1979.

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A review of the Air Force's realinement and relocation from the National Capital Region covered the planning process, the rationale and criteria for targeting certain functions, the implementation and status of the plan, and the estimated costs and savings. Cost data compiled by the Air Force and supporting documents were reviewed, and Air Force officials were interviewed. The review was hampered by a lack of documentation and delays in obtaining information.

GAO found that the Air Force did not follow normal planning procedures. One Air Force official and a small ad hoc group planned the realinement. Affected organizations did not participate until after target numbers for relocating positions were decided, and the planning process was not formally documented. Congressional and administration emphasis on reducing the Federal presence in the National Capital Region appeared to be the rationale for realinement. Functions were reportedly selected for relocation because of the likelihood that they could be performed effectively elsewhere. Relocations out of the Region have not been cost effective. GAO estimates one-time costs at $2.8 million and annual recurring costs at $1.4 million. Fewer manpower authorizations in the Region were affected than originally planned, and portions of the plan were deleted after a reevaluation showed potential adverse effects. Completed portions of the realinement have caused some operational inefficiencies. Twenty-seven more personnel spaces were authorized to coordinate work or to perform additional administrative tasks. Several organizations also reported that the realinement caused undesirable work allocation choices with results potentially slower, more costly, or less reliable.

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