Surprise, BRAC Expenses Up

The Government Accountability Office believes that Pentagon numbers on expenses and savings related to BRAC 2005 are off, way off. GAO estimates that the amount needed to implement BRAC actions have “increased by 48 percent, from $21 billion to $31 billion, for the six-year implementation period,” according to GAO analyst Brian Lepore in testimony to the House Armed Services readiness panel Wednesday. And, he says, annual net savings could be about 5 percent less than expected. Among the problems cited by GAO is the continued operation of Cannon AFB, N.M. The Pentagon claimed about $60 million in annual savings for closing Cannon, but now the base has taken on new life as an Air Force Special Operations Command facility. Air Force officials say they let the savings estimate stand “because they disestablished the fighter wing.” GAO is looking more closely at the Cannon issue and expects to issue a new report next month. All in all, the Congressional watchdog thinks DOD has overstated estimated annual recurring savings “by about 46 percent.”