What GAO Found
The Department of Defense (DOD) components generally did not measure the achievement of goals—reducing excess infrastructure, transforming the military, and promoting joint activities among the military departments—for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. In March 2013, GAO recommended that, for any future BRAC round, DOD identify measures of effectiveness and develop a plan to demonstrate achieved results. DOD did not concur and stated that no action is expected. Without a requirement for DOD to identify measures of effectiveness and track achievement of its goals, Congress will not have full visibility over the expected outcomes or achievements of any future BRAC rounds.
Of the 65 recommendations GAO has made to help DOD address challenges it faced in BRAC 2005, as of October 2017 DOD had implemented 33 of them (with 18 pending DOD action).
DOD Actions on GAO Recommendations Related to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Round
DOD has not addressed challenges associated with communication and monitoring mission-related changes. Specifically:
Some military organizations stated that they could not communicate to BRAC decision makers information outside of the data-collection process because DOD did not establish clear and consistent communications. For example, Army officials at Fort Knox, Kentucky, stated that there was no way to communicate that excess facilities were ill-suited for relocating the Human Resources Command and moved forward without full consideration of alternatives for using better-suited excess space at other locations. As a result, DOD spent about $55 million more than estimated to construct a new building at Fort Knox.
DOD implemented BRAC recommendations that affected units' ability to carry out their missions because DOD lacked specific guidance to monitor and report on mission-related changes. For example, DOD spent about $27.7 million on a landing field for a Marine Corps F-35 training squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, even though it had been previously decided to station the F-35 aircraft and personnel at another base.
By addressing its communication and monitoring challenges, DOD could better inform decision making, better ensure that its infrastructure meets the need of its force structure, and better position itself to achieve its goals in any future BRAC round.
Why GAO Did This Study
The 2005 BRAC round was the costliest and most complex BRAC round ever. In contrast to prior rounds, which focused on the goal of reducing excess infrastructure, DOD's goals for BRAC 2005 also included transforming the military and fostering joint activities.
GAO was asked to review DOD's performance outcomes from BRAC 2005. This report examines the extent to which DOD has (1) measured the achievement of its goals for BRAC 2005 and (2) implemented prior GAO recommendations on BRAC 2005 and addressed any additional challenges to improve performance for any future BRAC round. GAO reviewed relevant documents and guidance; met with a nongeneralizable selection of 26 military organizations and 12 communities involved with BRAC 2005; and interviewed DOD officials.
Congress should consider requiring DOD to identify and track appropriate measures of effectiveness in any future BRAC round. Also, GAO recommends that in any future BRAC round DOD (1) take steps to establish clear and consistent communications while collecting data and (2) provide specific guidance to the military departments to monitor and report on mission-related changes during implementation. GAO also continues to believe that DOD should fully implement GAO's prior recommendations on BRAC 2005. DOD objected to Congress requiring DOD to identify and track performance measures, but GAO continues to believe this to be an appropriate action for the reasons discussed in the report. Lastly, DOD concurred with the two recommendations.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Congress should consider, in any future BRAC authorization, a requirement for DOD to identify appropriate measures of effectiveness and to track the achievement of its goals. (Matter for Consideration 1)||This Matter for Congressional Consideration is contingent on the authorization of another round of BRAC. As of July 2021, Congress has not authorized another round of BRAC.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||In the event of any future BRAC round, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment (ASD (EI&E)) and the military departments take steps to establish clear and consistent communications throughout the department during data collection. (Recommendation 1)|
|Department of Defense||In the event of any future BRAC round, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that ASD (EI&E) provides specific guidance for the military departments to monitor and report on mission-related changes that require significant changes to the recommendation business plans. (Recommendation 2)|