Pentagon falls short on savings at joint bases, auditors say

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The Defense Department has not made the most of consolidations set in motion seven years ago by the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, according to a new report that found savings have fallen short of projections for joint bases.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense “has not developed or implemented a plan to guide joint bases in achieving cost savings and efficiencies,” Government Accountability Office auditors said in a report released Thursday. Hence, the estimated savings from combining necessary base services such as information technology communication, bus transport, facilities maintenance and emergency services management have fallen 90 percent.

The dozen joint bases originally belonging to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps include, in the Washington area, Anacostia-Bolling, Andrews-Naval Air and Myer-Henderson Hall, as well as Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and bases in Charleston, S.C., and San Antonio.

GAO said, “three factors limited the usefulness of the reported standards as a common tool for managing installation support services: the lack of clarity in some standards, unclear standards that were not reviewed and changed in a timely manner, and data collection and reporting on the standards that in some cases adhered to individual service standards rather than the common standard.”

Auditors advised the Pentagon to develop a plan to achieve cost savings, prioritize review and revision of unclear common standards, and develop a strategy to share solutions to common challenges. “DoD partially agreed with five recommendations and did not concur with the recommendation to develop a plan to achieve cost savings,” the report said, “because it stated that such goals are not appropriate at this time.”

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