GAO Questions DOD’s Infrastructure Excess Capacity Metrics

A Government Accountability Office report, released on June 20, found there are “limitations” to the Defense Department’s method for estimating excess infrastructure. Pentagon leaders have repeatedly called for an additional round of BRAC, saying it was left with a 20 percent excess in infrastructure following the 2005 BRAC round. “These estimates were reached by subtracting DOD’s estimate of the amount of capacity that would be eliminated by the approved recommendations from BRAC 2005…from DOD’s 2004 estimate that it had 24 percent excess capacity,” notes the GAO report. “However, pre-BRAC estimates of the percentages of bases that may be excess to needed capacity, which is expressed as a percentage of bases and plant replacement value, which is measured in dollars, are not comparable measures.” The Defense Department acknowledged the limitations in its response to the GAO’s report. “This approach is not intended to identify specific installations or organizations to realign or close,” states a June 7 letter from John Conger, acting deputy undersecretary of defense (installations and environment), which was included in the report. “The specific capacity analysis that is an integral part of the BRAC process is preferable to aggregate metrics.” (GAO report)