Defense Infrastructure:

DOD Funding for Infrastructure and Road Improvements Surrounding Growth Installations

GAO-08-602R: Published: Apr 1, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 2008.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) is simultaneously implementing a number of force realignments that contribute to personnel growth at military installations throughout the United States. DOD plans to execute over 800 actions from the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, which entail relocating over 123,000 personnel. Concurrent with its BRAC 2005 actions, DOD is also implementing or planning to implement other extensive worldwide transformation initiatives, which include relocating about 50,000 soldiers primarily from Europe and Korea to the United States; transforming the Army's force structure from an organization based on divisions to more rapidly deployable, brigade-based units (known as Army modularity); and increasing its active duty end strength by 92,000, all of which will affect DOD's facilities infrastructure. These force realignments will result in dramatic growth at some DOD installations across the United States. Based on data provided by the services, the DOD Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) had identified, as of January 2008, 20 locations where expected growth as a result of force realignments in fiscal years 2006 through 2012 will adversely affect surrounding communities. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 mandated that we assess the impact on military installations caused by an increase in assigned forces or civilian personnel as a result of the 2005 BRAC or other force realignments. Our specific objectives were to (1) determine whether military facility requirements (including quality-of-life projects) will be met before the arrival of assigned forces and (2) determine whether DOD has programmed sufficient funding to mitigate community traffic congestion in accordance with the Defense Access Roads (DAR) program.

While DOD has made progress in initiating construction of military facilities to accommodate growth, it is too early to determine whether all required facilities will be constructed prior to arrival of assigned forces because contracts must still be let, the progress of construction may affect timelines for the arrival of forces, and the services are still requesting or expecting to request $6.4 billion in funding. At the 11 installations we reviewed, representing over 85 percent of expected population growth, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps have received about $7.3 billion for fiscal years 2006 through 2008 for growth-related construction projects, which is approximately 54 percent of the total estimated funding requirement for growth related construction at those installations through 2011. As of March 2008, at the 11 installations we reviewed contracts have been awarded for approximately $4.1billion--about 56 percent of the available funds--and base officials plan to award contracts for most of the remaining funds in fiscal year 2008. The services have requested or plan to request just under $6.4 billion in funding to implement remaining growth: the services have requested about $4.2 billion in fiscal year 2009, and plan to request $2 billion in fiscal year 2010 and $196 million in fiscal year 2011 for growth-related projects at the installations included in our review. DOD has requested funding for off-base road improvements around growth installations for all projects that met the DAR program criteria and the DAR program office had already completed the assessment process at the time of our review. As of March 2008, DOD had requested $36.2 million for one project under the DAR program. In addition, four other projects totaling just over $37.7 million were still being assessed by the installation or DAR program officials to determine whether they meet DAR eligibility criteria. Although other off-base road improvements around growth installations have also been identified, few of these projects meet the criteria for funding under the DAR program and consequently will need other sources of funds. Generally, state and local government support is the primary means by which these off-base road improvements to mitigate traffic congestion at growth installations are funded. At the time of our review, base officials estimated that state and local governments were funding or plan to fund just over $657 million in growth related off-base road improvements around the 11 installations included in our review.

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