Through military base realignment and closures rounds in 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995, the Pentagon significantly reduced its domestic infrastructure and freed up needed dollars for high-priority programs. By the end of last round in fiscal year 2001, the Department of Defense (DOD) had closed or realigned hundreds of bases, generated savings, and transferred unneeded property to other users. The communities surrounding the former bases continue to recover economically from the closures. Congress recently authorized another round of base realignments and closures beginning in 2005. DOD has saved $16.7 billion through fiscal year 2001, and expects to save $6.6 billion in annually in future years. Although DOD plans to transfer nearly all of the 518,500 acres of unneeded base property to federal and nonfederal users, it has completed only some of the transfers. Environmental cleanup is the primary impediment to conveying the remaining property titles. The military services are using early transfer authority and leasing to make property available for reuse sooner. Although successful redevelopment of base property plays a key role in the economic recovery of neighboring communities, broader regional economic growth also is important to the process. Two economic indicators--the unemployment rate and average annual real capita income growth rate--show that most communities are doing well compared with average U.S. rates, despite delays in the transfer or reuse of former base property. But questions remain about some communities' ability to sustain their economic recovery over time, particularly in light of the recent downturn in the national economy.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||As part of the new base realignment and closure round scheduled for 2005, the Under Secretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (comptroller and chief financial officer), should develop a Defensewide systematic approach for the periodic updating of initial closure savings estimates.|
|Department of Defense||As part of the new base realignment and closure round scheduled for 2005, the Under Secretary of Defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense (comptroller and chief financial officer), should develop an oversight mechanism to ensure that the military services and components update such estimates in accordance with the prescribed approach.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should encourage the Secretaries of the military services to work with communities impacted by the base closure process to expand the use of the early transfer authority in those cases where the department can accelerate the transfer of unneeded former base property and save money.|