GAO: Too Many Defense Labs

November 14, 1996

GAO: Too Many Defense Labs

The General Accounting Office has concluded that the Defense Department's laboratory infastructure will remain 35 percent larger than it needs to be even after downsizing.

GAO reports that "DOD's infastructure reductions have not kept pace with reductions in funding, personnel, and force structure." Since 1985 the overall defense budget has dropped 39 percent and military force structure has dropped 30 percent. But domestic base infastructure funding has declined only 21 percent.

The GAO report cites DOD officials who believe that laboratory infastructure could have been decreased through splitting the functions of R&D laboratories and test & evaluation centers. They also think that many facilities protected their own turf in recent cost-cutting exercises instead of cooperating with more efficient cross-service efforts.

Funding for laboratories has actually been increasing since 1990, in large part as a result of a recent Navy reorganization, increased laboratory responsibilities for program management and logistics, and outsourcing to private sector laboratories.

The GAO report is "Defense Acquisition Infastructure: Changes in RDT&E Laboratories and Centers", GAO/NSIAD-96-221BR, 9/13/96.

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