Costs Are Uncertain but Seem Likely to Exceed DOD's Estimate

NSIAD-96-120BR: Published: Mar 14, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's estimated costs of participation in the multilateral coalition in Bosnia.

GAO found that: (1) DOD costs for the Bosnia operation are uncertain and could exceed its estimate; (2) while the Army's costs, which represent about two-thirds of the operation's costs, are expected to exceed the DOD estimate, the Air Force's projected costs are likely to be less than estimated; (3) DOD deployment transportation and contractor costs are expected to exceed cost estimates by $84 million and $55.7 million respectively; (4) the costs for deploying and operating the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System were underestimated by $39 million; (5) Air Force costs were understated by $39 million because per diem costs were overestimated, flying hours were reduced, and many aircraft were returned to home stations; (6) DOD special pays and reserve activation cost estimates could be overstated by $43 million and $20 million respectively because of overestimates in the number of personnel eligible for special pay and reservists needed; (7) DOD could not reliably estimate the costs of operating tempo of forces in Bosnia, redeploying the NATO Implementation Force, and reconstituting the operation's equipment because several factors need to be clarified; (8) the Army projects that it will run out of discretionary operation tempo funding in June 1996 and may have to curtail training if this shortfall occurs; and (9) DOD plans to finance the 1996 portion of Bosnia operations by reprogramming certain appropriated funds and requesting additional supplemental appropriations.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress has established an Overseas Contingency Operations Transfer Fund, which places funding for expenses related to overseas contingency operations in a transfer fund that the Secretary of Defense may transfer to the services. This allows the Secretary to provide funds as operations unfold during the year.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider that any supplemental funding provided should only be available for: (1) expenses incurred in support of contingency operations involving the former Yugoslavia; and (2) the reimbursement of accounts utilized to fund those operations.

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD, in an April 1996 reprogramming action, reflected $68.1 million in reductions to military personnel and operations and maintenance accounts that had been identified as overstated.

    Matter: If initial contingency operation funding proves to be inadequate, but some services have costs below their funded level while others have costs above it, Congress should redistribute, by transfer before Congress provides additional funds, excesses earmarked for contingencies.

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When DOD submitted the second reprogramming for Bosnia operations to Congress, the reprogramming reflected an amount that considered both actual experience and actual costs incurred for the operation to date.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider whether appropriation levels should be reevaluated as more experience and actual cost data become available. The second reprogramming in DOD Bosnia funding plan would lend itself to such a reevaluation.


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