DOD Analysis Reveals Significant Excess Capacity in Army, Air Force Facilities

About one-third of Army and Air Force infrastructure is excess to those services’ needs, according to a broad capacity analysis released by the Defense Department.

Overall, 22 percent of the department’s capacity is excess; only 7 percent of the Navy’s infrastructure is unneeded.

The parametric analysis compares various facility measures to changes in force structure, using 1989 as a baseline. The estimates are based on projected force levels in fiscal 2019. Because DOD had a significant amount of excess in 1989, the results of the analysis are conservative, according to the report. The analysis is not designed to determine whether any particular base has excess capacity, it emphasized.

The results also can’t be used to predict the scope of closures in a future BRAC round, it said.

“While 22 percent excess is substantial, the results of this analysis cannot be used to project the potential size of BRAC closures broadly, nor can the excess in any category of installation be used to project the likelihood of an installation closing,” according to the report.

Past base closure rounds have reduced plant replacement value by an average of 5 percent.

The most striking figures in the report are the estimates by installation category, with the results ranging from no increase — beyond the 1989 baseline — to levels of excess capacity above 50 percent. Estimates of excess capacity by installation category for the Army include:

  • administration — 29 percent
  • depots — no increase
  • arsenals/industrial manufacturing — 36
  • major training active — 2
  • major training reserve — 53
  • maneuver — 42
  • schools — 44
  • test and evaluation/labs — 46
  • Army total — 33

Estimates of excess capacity by installation category for the Air Force include:

  • depots — 1 percent
  • education and training (parking apron space) — 7
  • education and training (classroom space) — 53
  • large aircraft — 36
  • small aircraft — 43
  • product centers, labs and test & evaluation — 14
  • Air Force Reserve — 24
  • Air National Guard — 24
  • Air Force total — 32

Estimates of excess capacity by installation category for the Navy include:

  • naval bases — 22 percent
  • Marine Corps bases — 27
  • air stations — no increase
  • aviation maintenance — 13
  • depot maintenance, Marine Corps — 9
  • shipyards — no increase
  • research, development, test & evaluation — no increase
  • training air stations — no increase
  • Navy total — 7

The Defense Logistics Agency’s distribution depots have an estimated 14 percent excess infrastructure. The analysis found no increase in excess space since 1989 in the agency’s supply centers.

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Dan Cohen
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