Air Force faces criticism over hotel construction project

The Air Force last week was accused of irresponsible management and lax oversight of construction of a 350-room hotel and massive retail mall at a military base in Germany during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Government Accountability Office and committee members criticized the Air Force for its handling of the unfinished construction of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on the grounds of Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

An Air Force audit dated June 22 reported that the Air Force sought authorization in the fiscal 2005 military construction budget for $131.1 million for the project, to be added to $15.8 million to come from the German government.

As of January 2006, the project authorization was increased to $164.3 million in addition to the German funds, the audit said.

GAO's Gregory Kutz testified that the project was initially slated to cost $150 million and be finished in late 2005, but the cost has mounted to about $200 million and fraud investigations are now under way.

Under heated questioning, Air Force Brigadier Gen. Danny Gardner, who oversees installations and mission support in Europe, sought to shift blame to a German contractor for what he admitted has been "poor project execution."

Gardner disputed Kutz's and the GAO's testimony that the project had run so far over budget that it is impossible to make a reliable estimate of its eventual cost.

Gardner insisted the final project cost is now estimated at $174 million -- below the $200 million budgeted. Kutz told the panel that an assessment of the final cost was difficult because there is no scheduled completion date and there have been more than 500 changes in the project, mostly due to poor design and insufficient design review.

Gardner blamed an agreement between the U.S. and German governments that any contracting work in Germany must be done by German contractors, not U.S. ones.

Gardner added that the Air Force oversight team was understaffed and that he did not realize the project was running behind until just before it was to open in December 2005.

Asked by several committee members if anyone in the Air Force has been fired or disciplined or if the Air Force takes any responsibility, Gardner said some Germans were fired but no U.S. official lost his job.

Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Tom Davis, R-Va., called the project "a disaster in the form of inadequate and unfocused high-level leadership, poor planning, poorly designed requirements, and an inadequate number of trained personnel overseeing the project."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.