Military Bases:

Update on the Status of Bases Closed in 1988, 1991, and 1993

NSIAD-96-149: Published: Aug 6, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) base realignment and closure (BRAC) process, focusing on: (1) the status and extent of land sales at closing bases; (2) whether private parties are excluded from purchasing surplus property; and (3) the amount of federal assistance provided to communities to promote economic conversion of closing bases.

GAO found that: (1) as of March 1996, land sales for the first three BRAC rounds totalled $179.2 million; (2) private parties rarely bid on the purchase of base properties because communities often request these properties under public benefit transfers, economic development conveyances, and noncompetitive negotiated sale authorities; (3) the federal government plans to retain approximately 16 percent of the land from the 23 bases reviewed; (4) although most of the land from these bases will be requested by local reuse authorities, reuse of 15 percent of the land remains undetermined; (5) communities plan to use the land for industrial and office complexes, parks and recreational facilities, residential housing, and correctional facilities; (6) although some bases have been able to generate jobs and revenue by leasing base properties during the conversion process, development and implementation of reuse and disposal plans can be a lengthy process; (7) readily marketable properties require resources for their protection and upkeep; (8) during past BRAC closure rounds, the federal government has provided over $780 million in planning assistance, training, and infrastructure grants to help communities implement their redevelopment objectives; and (9) 21 percent of the 88,433 DOD civilian jobs that were lost as a result of the first three BRAC closure rounds have been replaced.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has reviewed the advisability of setting timeframes in the negotiated sales process and has determined that it would not be practical because the negative implications would outweigh any possible benefits. DOD continues to negotiate interim leases for some unneeded base property, including housing in cases where market conditions and environmental conditions permit, in order to get usable property to users as quickly as possible.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish reasonable timeframes for concluding negotiated sales of surplus real property and when practical, rent unoccupied, surplus housing and other facilities as a means of preserving property pending final disposition.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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