Defense Infrastructure: Planning Challenges Could Increase Risks for DOD in Providing Utility Services When Needed to Support the Military Buildup on Guam

GAO-09-653 Published: Jun 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2009.
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The Department of Defense's (DOD) plans to increase the U.S. military presence on Guam by more than two-and-a-half times the island's current military population of 15,000 by 2020. To keep pace with this growth, DOD has determined that substantial upgrades to the island's existing utilities infrastructure are required for electric power, potable water, wastewater treatment, and solid waste disposal to meet future utility needs. GAO was asked to examine (1) the condition and capacity of the existing utilities' infrastructure on Guam, the military's estimated utility requirements, and potential solutions for meeting the increased demand on the island's utility systems as well as (2) the extent that DOD has developed a comprehensive plan to address any challenges it faces in its planning for new utility systems. GAO reviewed and analyzed plans and studies within DOD, the services, and several stakeholders on implementing new utility services associated with the Guam military buildup.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense Because of the importance that DOD places on developing the utility infrastructure needed to support its planned military buildup on Guam, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy, in consultation with the Joint Guam Program Office and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, to develop a comprehensive plan for DOD's utility development efforts that includes specific information on options under consideration; projected costs; sources of financing and related budget information; schedules with associated critical milestones; the construct for the special purpose entity approach or alternative approaches that would be used to plan, develop, construct, and operate the new utility infrastructure; organizational relationships and associated responsibilities; status of government of Guam actions to improve its existing infrastructure that may have application to DOD plans; and, potential risks, challenges, and other factors affecting implementation of DOD's plans. Additionally, this plan should be: (1) developed in cooperation with the government of Guam; (2) prepared in time so that an initial version of the plan can be included with DOD's submission of its final comprehensive Guam Joint Military Master Plan for the buildup to Congress in 2010; (3) provided to congressional defense committees, with subsequent versions of the plan provided as they become available; and (4) updated, as needed, to adapt to changing circumstances.
Closed – Not Implemented
GAO's recent report on DOD's defense posture toward the Asia-Pacific region (GAO-13-360) stated that DOD has not developed an integrated master plan for its current realignment plan, and it has not developed a strategy to support the development and oversight of the Japanese construction projects associated with other realignment initiatives. DOD has taken initial steps to develop an integrated scheduling document based on currently known data, but indicated that specific requirements, schedules, and costs cannot be formalized in an integrated master plan until several studies and host nation negotiations are completed, which will take several years.

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