Monday, March 23, 2015

GAO's High-Risk List - DoD Support Infrastructure Management

We are concluding our series on GAO's list of high-risk agencies and program areas that were selected for their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation. Although there are many more programs on the listing, we selected the ones that most affect or apply to traditional Government contractors. You can read the entire GAO report by clicking here. If you missed any of the earlier discussions, go to Part 1, Part 2, and/or Part 3.

DoD Support Infrastructure refers to the real property that the Department manages consisting of 562 thousand facilities including commissaries, data centers, office buildings, laboratories, and maintenance depots. These facilities are spread out to more than 5,000 sites worldwide and cover more than 28 million acres. Quite obviously, these facilities all need ongoing repair and maintenance as well as grounds maintenance and that is where contractors come in. DoD does not do the work themselves - they hire it out.

The GAO focus here is that DoD should do more to eliminate potentially excess facilities but it is hampered in doing so because it does not maintain complete and accurate data concerning the utilization of its facilities. Until is has reliable utilization data, it cannot assess the level of excess facilities and therefore is hampered in its ability to reduce excess infrastructure.

The other aspect of this is that where facilities have consolidated (e.g. Joint Bases), there is little if any data showing whether cost savings resulted from combining facilities. If fact, there is anecdotal evidence showing that in some cases, costs have increased as a result of base consolidations. Moreover, DoD has not established any action plans to make certain savings are achieved. The GAO identified snow removal standards at two installations that combined. The Air Force and Army had different standards, yet when the two combined, the combined facility applied the higher standard, thus actually increasing costs.

Contractors should expect to see increased effort by DoD activities to reduce historical levels of support thereby achieving savings in contracted services.

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