Defense Bill Calls for Study of Underutilized Facilities

The Defense Department would be required to analyze its real estate inventory to determine how many facilities are underutilized, under a provision in the compromise version of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill scheduled to be taken up by the Senate this week.

The language was added to the House version of the measure in June by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) as part of his effort to cut wasteful spending by the government on unused buildings.

“By forcing the Department of Defense to take a serious look at its facilities, gather data on how these facilities are managed, and develop a coherent plan for reducing costs and improving efficiency, my amendment seeks to eliminate this wasteful government spending,” Murphy said in a written statement after the amendment was passed on the House floor June 13.

The provision, section 2814, calls for DOD to report on:

  • its strategy for maximizing efficient utilization of existing facilities, progress implementing the strategy and obstacles to carrying it out;
  • its efforts to collect and analyze data on the efficient utilization of real property;
  • the number of underutilized and unutilized properties in the department’s Real Property Inventory Database;
  • the annual cost of maintaining its underused and unused facilities; and
  • the department’s efforts to dispose of underused and unused facilities.

The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote Wednesday to end debate on the annual policy bill, with a final vote most likely scheduled for Thursday. At least six Republicans have indicated they will vote to invoke cloture, providing the necessary 60 votes to proceed to a final vote. The House approved the measure last week.

The text of the legislation is available on the House Armed Services Committee website.

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