The cleanup of environmental contamination on unneeded property resulting from prior defense base realignment and closure (BRAC) rounds has been a key impediment to the transfer of these properties and could be an issue in the transfer and reuse of unneeded property resulting from the 2005 BRAC round. GAO's analysis of available data indicates that, when completed, the cleanup for the four prior BRAC rounds is expected to cost about $13.2 billion and additional costs will be needed for BRAC 2005 property. These costs reduce BRAC savings, especially in the short term. Because of broad congressional interest in BRAC, GAO prepared this report under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative. GAO's objectives were to examine costs to clean up 2005 BRAC properties, progress in transferring prior BRAC rounds properties to other users, and opportunities to expedite cleanups and transfers. To address these issues, GAO analyzed cleanup cost estimates, interviewed environmental officials and visited seven bases.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||In order to provide more complete and transparent cost information for the environmental cleanup of properties from all BRAC rounds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) to report all costs (Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) and non-DERP)--past and future--required to complete environmental cleanup at each BRAC installation and to fully explain the scope and limitations of all the environmental cleanup costs DOD reports to Congress. This information should be included in the annual BRAC budget justification documentation since it would accompany information Congress considers when making resource allocation decisions.|
|Department of Defense||In order to help ensure that the military services are taking full advantage of all tools available to clean up and transfer unneeded BRAC properties from the 2005 round, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) to require that the military services periodically report to the Office of the Secretary of Defense on the status and proposed strategy for transferring these properties and include an assessment of the usefulness of all tools at their disposal. This information should be placed in an easily shared location, such as a Web site, so that each service, and even the local communities and private sector, can share and benefit from lessons learned.|