Defense Budget:

Observations on Infrastructure Activities

NSIAD-97-127BR: Published: Apr 4, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 1997.

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GAO provided information on Department of Defense (DOD) infrastructure activities.

GAO noted that: (1) the proportion of planned infrastructure funding in DOD's 1997-2001 budgets was projected to remain at about 60 percent, the same proportion it was at the time of DOD's Bottom-Up Review; (2) costs of infrastructure activities were expected to increase by $9 billion, from $146 billion in fiscal year (FY) 1997 to $155 billion in FY 2001; (3) about 50 percent of the infrastructure is in two categories, central logistics and installation support; (4) about 80 percent of infrastructure activities that can be clearly identified in DOD's Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) are funded by a combination of the military personnel, 30 percent, and operation and maintenance, 50 percent, appropriations; (5) therefore, if DOD is to reduce its infrastructure activities, it must look to these appropriations for the reductions; (6) although active military personnel were projected to decline by about 30 percent between FY 1990 and 1997, the salaries and benefits for active duty military personnel were projected to decline by only 13 percent; (7) the budgets were not expected to decrease commensurate with the force because the force that remains has progressively become more expensive; (8) also, by 1999, each service is expected to have a higher percentage of officers in its force than it had in 1990; (9) Congress has been concerned about whether the drawdown of military personnel may have gone too far and imposed permanent end strength levels in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996; (10) but, GAO work has shown that smaller end strengths are possible without reducing the number of military personnel assigned to mission forces; (11) each service is assessing ways to streamline its operations that could lead to fewer active military personnel needs; (12) DOD could achieve savings in the military personnel accounts by replacing active duty military personnel, who perform infrastructure functions, with less costly civilian personnel; (13) operation and maintenance accounts were projected to increase from $88.3 billion in FY 1990 to $95.9 billion in FY 2001; and (14) although DOD has improved operations and reduced costs, it continues to waste billions of dollars annually on unneeded facilities and inefficient activities.

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