Operational Decisions Needed Before Estimating DOD's Costs

NSIAD-98-77BR: Published: Feb 11, 1998. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the Department of Defense's (DOD) incremental costs for its Bosnia operations; (2) whether DOD's fiscal year (FY) 1998 appropriations for Bosnia are adequate to cover the costs of planned operations; and (3) the nature and timing of key decisions that could significantly affect the costs.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's incremental costs for its operations in and around Bosnia are expected to be $6.4 billion through June 1998; (2) DOD reported $2.5 billion in costs for FY 1996 and $2.3 billion for FY 1997; (3) for FY 1998, DOD is estimating costs of $1.6 billion for its Bosnia operations; (4) DOD based its FY 1998 estimate on the then-current plan to withdraw U.S. forces by June 1998 and consequently requested no funds for Bosnia in the FY 1999 President's budget; (5) FY 1998 Bosnia funding will not cover DOD's likely Bosnia costs if the President's tentative decision to extend the mission beyond June 1998 is affirmed; (6) operations costs for July-September 1998 are unbudgeted, as is a troop rotation due in the summer to replace Army troops currently in Bosnia; (7) therefore, executing commands, such as U.S. Army Europe, will require additional funds for Bosnia or will need to reduce other planned activities, such as training and equipment maintenance; (8) however, funding requirements for these unanticipated tasks should be offset somewhat by the availability of budgeted funds no longer required in FY 1998, such as funds for closing all base camps; (9) revised budget-quality estimates for fiscal years 1998-1999 are not likely until key decisions are made; (10) to be as accurate as possible, estimates should be based on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and U.S. decisions about the mission in Bosnia, the military tasks, force size, force mix, operational tempo, and logistical and other factors; (11) also, the military services are considering additional ways to reduce costs, now that the Bosnia mission appears to have been extended; (12) to meet Congress' legislative calendar, in March 1998, DOD plans to amend its FY 1999 budget and request supplemental appropriations for FY 1998; and (13) however, if NATO and the United States have not decided on the force size and other details by March, then budget-quality estimates may not be possible at that time.

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