BRAC cost 67 percent more than DoD's original estimates, GAO finds

Tuesday - 7/3/2012, 3:44pm EDT

The cost of implementing the most recent round of Base Realignment and Closures was $35.1 billion — or 67 percent more — than the Defense Department originally estimated, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

The BRAC Commission of 2005 had estimated one-time costs would be $21 billion. DoD spent $25 billion for the four previous BRAC rounds combined, GAO said.

The 2005 BRAC was different in previous rounds in that the emphasis was on "transformation and jointness," rather than only reducing excess properties.

The ballooning costs were largely the result of increased construction costs, GAO said.

"Before DoD could begin to realize savings from BRAC 2005, it needed to invest billions of dollars in facility construction, renovation, and other up-front expenses," the report said.

GAO said DoD added building projects to already-planned projects after DoD started implementing BRAC. For example, BRAC costs at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency more than doubled from the estimated $1.1 billion to $2.6 million.

The BRAC Commission estimated DoD would achieve a positive net value of $36 billion starting in 2025. However, GAO noted it issued a report in 2007 finding DoD's cost and savings estimates were likely to "evolve" due to uncertainties around military construction.

GAO called the 2005 round the "most complex BRAC round ever," involving 800 defense locations and the relocation of more than 125,000 personnel. The deadline to finish implementing BRAC was Sept. 15, 2011.

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Tags: BRAC, DoD, GAO, budget