The Department of Defense (DOD) established the military munitions response program (MMRP) in 2001 to clean up sites known to be or suspected of being contaminated with military munitions and related hazardous substances. Cleanup of sites on active and base realignment and closure installations is the responsibility of the military service--Air Force, Army, Navy, or Marine Corps--that currently controls the land, and the Army has delegated execution of cleanup of formerly used defense sites (FUDS) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). GAO was mandated to assess the (1) MMRP staffing and funding levels; (2) progress DOD has made in cleaning up munitions response sites; (3) extent to which DOD has established MMRP performance goals; and (4) extent to which DOD collects data on factors influencing project duration, as well as the accuracy of its cleanup cost estimates. GAO analyzed MMRP data and DOD documents and interviewed officials from DOD, the military services, and the Corps.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|To improve transparency for progress DOD has made in cleaning up MMRP sites, Congress may wish to consider requiring that DOD report, in a separate category from its accounting of "response complete" sites in the Defense Environmental Programs Annual Report to Congress, any sites that DOD determined did not require actual cleanup under the MMRP and were administratively closed.||This matter for congressional consideration is closed not implemented because no action was taken. On February 2, 2015, GAO/GC confirmed that no responsive change to the law has occurred related to our matter for congressional consideration (see 10 USC 2711.10).|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To improve consistency, transparency, and management of the MMRP, the Secretary of Defense should develop guidance for the military services and the Corps that establishes a consistent approach for how factors other than relative risk should be considered in munitions response site sequencing decisions.|
|Department of Defense||2. To improve consistency, transparency, and management of the MMRP, the Secretary of Defense should establish and report to Congress (1) a goal for achieving remedy in place or response complete for FUDS, as required by law, and (2) such interim goals as DOD determines feasible for the remedy in place or response complete goals at munitions response sites on active and BRAC 2005 installations and FUDS.|
|Department of Defense||3. To improve consistency, transparency, and management of the MMRP, the Secretary of Defense should establish a process to ensure the completeness of site-level obligated funds data in DOD's Knowledge-Based Corporate Reporting System database.|