Environmental Compliance:

Reporting on DOD Military Construction and Repair Projects Can Be Improved

NSIAD-98-33: Published: Dec 8, 1997. Publicly Released: Jan 7, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the Department of Defense's (DOD) environmental compliance projects funded as construction or repair; (2) DOD's criteria for determining which appropriation account is used for programming funds; (3) the process for programming funds; and (4) reporting on future funding requirements.

GAO noted that: (1) the basis for determining which funding source should be used for funding environmental compliance construction and repair projects is set forth in laws and regulations; (2) the law requires military construction appropriations to be used for all construction projects costing over $500,000; (3) the law defines construction as the creation of complete and usable new facilities or complete and usable improvements to existing facilities on military installations; (4) in general, operation and maintenance appropriations are available to fund construction projects costing less than $500,000 and repairs of any value; (5) other appropriations such as research, development, test, and evaluation, may also be used in appropriate circumstances; (6) the programming process for environmental compliance construction or repair activities varies according to the project funding source; (7) under the process, the level of project justification detail that DOD provides to Congress is greater for military construction projects than for projects funded under other appropriations; (8) in general, any military construction project, including environmental compliance projects, is programmed, reviewed, budgeted, and funded individually; (9) projects to be funded from operation and maintenance appropriations are rolled up into a single amount for budgeting and funding purposes; (10) the law permits some smaller value military construction projects to be carried out as unspecified minor construction; (11) these are budgeted as a single amount; (12) DOD has made some improvements to its annual compliance reporting by identifying specific projects that will cost over $300,000; (13) DOD has improved the detailed budget information provided to Congress by identifying recurring and nonrecurring compliance costs by appropriation; and (14) however, information provided to Congress in this report does not identify proposed construction and repair projects costing over $300,000 and their funding sources.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation. DOD's annual reports now identify projects over $300,000 by service and funding source for all but the Navy. DOD is working with the Navy to also obtain breakdowns of its data.

    Recommendation: To improve the specificity of its reporting, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security to revise the DOD annual report to Congress to: (1) identify all proposed construction and repair projects over $300,000 for all services; and (2) include the funding sources for them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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