10:45 am, May 30, 2015

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  • So Congress has determined that Congress is right again?
    GAO works for Congress and finds what they are told to find. All they found is potential conflict but no actual ones. Since DoD is working toward reducing troop levels back to 1989 levels, I don't see why, for lack of money to do a more thorough evaluation, it is a faulty assumption that at those troop levels and a reduced civilian staffing level that they don't' have too much real estate. Many of the "other" functions on bases belong to the same service and would be counted. Others often take minimal space and could often be relocated off base if needed. I can think of one base with a Coast Guard station on it that takes up one 2,000 square foot building. This is a negligible part of the base and since there are at least 2 other such stations within 5 miles, perhaps it isn't really needed either. They also have DIA, Presidential Helicoptors, and Secret Service vehicle storage, and local reservists and a small group of marines on base. Most of these functions are there as a courtesy to other organizations. There are plenty of other vacant federal properties in the area they could be relocated to, though I can't imagine any evaluation of the base would consider their buildings as unused. Even with this, all these tenants take up about 10% of the base. We have also allowed contractors to have buildings simply because we have empty building for them to use. I know of another base where easily 20% of the buildings have been abandoned for years. They have trees growing through them in some cases. Many have at least partially collapsed from neglect. Others have been burned out. Now that virtually all military housing has been privatized, some bases are little more than administrative shells with no real purpose. We still maintain several military recreational centers that date back to a time when there were few camp grounds or amusement parks, but they are now hardly used most of the year. Anyone that thinks we don't have excess bases is fooling themselves. On top of that, we are in the process of reducing just the Army by as much as 180,000 active duty and reserve troops. If we have excess real estate now, imagine what it will be like when those troops are all gone.
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