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Highlights

The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round is the biggest, most complex, and costliest ever. DOD viewed this round as a unique opportunity to reshape its installations, realign forces to meet its needs for the next 20 years, and achieve savings. To realize savings, DOD must first invest billions of dollars in facility construction, renovation, and other up-front expenses to implement the BRAC recommendations. However, recent increases in estimated cost have become a concern to some members of Congress. Under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative, GAO (1) compared the BRAC Commission's cost and savings estimates to DOD's current estimates, (2) assessed potential for change in DOD's current estimates, and (3) identified broad implementation challenges. GAO compared the BRAC Commission's estimates, which were the closest estimates available associated with final BRAC recommendations, to DOD's current estimates. GAO also visited 25 installations and major commands, and interviewed DOD officials.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To provide more transparency over the Department of Defense's (DOD) estimated annual recurring savings from BRAC implementation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in consultation with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), to explain, in DOD's BRAC budget submission to Congress, the difference between annual recurring savings attributable to military personnel entitlements and annual recurring savings that will readily result in funds available for other defense priorities.
Closed - Implemented
In December 2007, we reported that as long as DOD continues to assert that nearly half of its estimated $4 billion in annual recurring BRAC savings come from military personnel reassignments, which will not free up funds for other defense priorities, DOD could create a false sense that BRAC 2005 will result in a much higher dollar savings than will actually be realized to readily fund other defense priorities. We, therefore, recommended that DOD explain in its BRAC budget submission to Congress, the difference between annual recurring savings attributable to military personnel entitlements and annual recurring savings that will readily result in funds available for other defense priorities. As a result of our recommendation, DOD included language in its the fiscal year 2009 DOD budget estimates for BRAC 2005 that stated, "To the extent that savings generated from military personnel reductions at closing or realigning installations are immediately used to fund military personnel priorities, these resources are not available to fund other Defense priorities." Such language was not included in the prior year (fiscal year 2008) budget submittal to Congress. OSD told us they inserted language in the 2009 BRAC budget in response to our reported recommendation to better explain its BRAC estimate.

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