DOD Needs Comprehensive Approach to Guide Excess Facilities Disposal, GAO Says
Enhanced management of DOD’s inventory of excess buildings would help focus its future efforts to dispose of unneeded facilities and, as a result, improve the department’s efficiency, according to a new study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The department is moving ahead with a six-year program, launched in fiscal year 2008, to demolish 62.3 million square feet of buildings and about $1.2 billion in other facilities by the end of FY 2013. Some organizations, however, may not meet their individual demolition targets on time, the agency said.
Many long-standing excess facilities that are more costly to eliminate will remain in DOD’s inventory after the demolition program is completed, though, because they are subject to complications and restrictions, such as requirements for historic preservation or dealing with hazardous waste.
The department also may be missing opportunities to identify additional candidates for consolidation or disposal because it does not maintain reliable data on the utilization of its facilities, GAO found. Complete information about underutilized facilities would help installation officials manage their facilities and the department make basing decisions, the agency stated.
DOD officials said demolition will be only one component of its approach to facilities management following the demolition program now under way. Because the department has not yet defined the strategies it will employ for this broader effort, the Pentagon may not be able to accurately determine how well this initiative helps to eliminate long-standing excess facilities, manage disposals in the future and promote efforts to make the best use of its facilities, GAO concluded.