Defense Budget: Trends in Operation and Maintenance Costs and Support Services Contracting

GAO-07-631 Published: May 18, 2007. Publicly Released: May 18, 2007.
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The Department of Defense (DOD) spent about 40 percent of the total defense budget to operate and maintain the nation's military forces in fiscal year 2005. Operation and maintenance (O&M) funding is considered one of the major components of funding for readiness. O&M appropriations fund the training, supply, and equipment maintenance of military units as well as the infrastructure of military bases. Over the past several years, DOD has increasingly used contractors, rather than uniformed or DOD civilian personnel, to provide O&M services in areas such as logistics, base operations support, information technology services, and administrative support. The House Appropriations Committee directed GAO to examine growing O&M costs and support services contracting. This GAO report (1) identifies the trends in O&M costs and services contracts and the reasons for the trends, (2) discusses whether increased services contracting has exacerbated the growth of O&M costs, and (3) provides perspectives on the benefits and concerns associated with increased contracting for support services. GAO analyzed DOD's O&M appropriations, budgets, and services contract costs over a 10-year period and developed case studies of outsourced O&M-related work at three installations. GAO is not making any recommendations. DOD made only technical comments on a draft of this report.

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