As stated in GAO’s 2015 High Risk report, the Department of Defense (DOD) manages a global real property portfolio that consists of more than 562,000 facilities—including barracks, commissaries, data centers, office buildings, laboratories, and maintenance depots—located on more than 5,000 sites worldwide and covering more than 28 million acres. With a replacement value of about $850 billion, this infrastructure is critical to maintaining military readiness, and the cost to build and maintain it represents a significant financial commitment.
Since designating this area as high risk in 1997, GAO reported on long-term challenges DOD faces in managing its portfolio of facilities, such as reducing excess infrastructure, sustaining facilities, providing facilities needed to support several simultaneous force structure initiatives, and achieving cost savings and efficiencies in base support through its joint basing initiative. Because DOD has made significant progress in addressing issues regarding planning and funding to sustain facilities, the defense infrastructure high-risk area was narrowed in 2011 to focus on two remaining areas: (1) reducing excess infrastructure and (2) achieving cost savings and efficiencies in base support through eliminating duplication of support services where bases are in close proximity to or adjacent to one another. GAO’s 2013 high-risk update noted that DOD continued to have significant excess capacity relative to its planned force structure and had not made significant progress in realizing the anticipated cost savings and efficiencies envisioned to be gained through joint basing. Therefore, DOD needed to take additional actions to address these two areas.
This High Risk Report is updated every two years, at the start of each new Congress. For more information on this High Risk Issue, see What We Found and What Remains to Be Done.
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