U.S. Military Presence at Soto Cano Air Base

NSIAD-89-107BR: Published: Mar 21, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the operations of the U.S. military base camp at Soto Cano, Honduras, focusing on base missions, personnel, logistic support capabilities, facilities, and operation and construction costs associated with maintaining a military presence.

GAO found that: (1) the Department of Defense (DOD) established an Army joint task force in 1983 to support Honduran command, communications, intelligence, and logistics requirements against a potential Cuban or Nicaraguan threat; (2) although the number of personnel assigned to the base has remained constant, the Army has expanded the mission, improved logistic capabilities, and enhanced base facilities; (3) the task force's structure was similar to a unified command without broad regional responsibility, since it did not need the Army's Southern Command for resupply and had supported large-scale operational missions and logistics and communication requirements; (4) although the camp facilities were constructed of wood rather than more permanent materials, the Army made several quality-of-life improvements and was upgrading security; (5) the annual cost of maintaining a military presence at Soto Cano totalled about $25 million; and (6) although the improved capabilities suggested a more permanent presence, assignment lengths and camp construction remained consistent with DOD policy of a temporary, rather than permanent, presence.

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