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Force Structure: Actions Needed to improve DODís Ability to Manage, Assess, and Report on Global Defense Posture Initiatives
John Pendleton (au)
In its ongoing global realignment of U.S. forces and installations, the Dept. of Defense (DOD) plans to reduce the number of troops permanently stationed overseas, consolidate overseas bases, and establish a network of smaller forward locations with limited personnel. Realigning the U.S. overseas posture involves closing obsolete and redundant bases, constructing new facilities costing billions of dollars, and ensuring that other needed infrastructure is in place to support realigned forces and missions. These significant changes to force structure both in the U.S. and overseas are being implemented to enhance operational efficiencies and ensure access during future contingency operations. DOD requests for overseas military construction projects extend around the world. For FY 2010, DOD requested approx. $1.5 billion, or 7%, of the regular military construction request for overseas military construction. The Congress has supported the DOD's efforts to reassess and realign its overseas posture to better respond to emerging security challenges, but the Senate Appropriations Comm. has expressed concerns about the dept.'s ability to effectively manage and accomplish such an ambitious program as well as the fidelity of the global basing plan given the rapidly changing global security environment. The DOD has taken positive steps toward establishing an integrated process to assess and adjust global defense posture; however, GAO identified two shortcomings in the dept.'s approach: (1) DOD has not reported on global posture matters in a comprehensive manner. As a result, Congress may not have the full context in which to consider DOD's global posture requirements. (2) Geographic combatant commands have not established a consistent approach to monitor initiative implementation, assess progress, and periodically report on results because DOD has not yet developed global posture implementation guidance. DOD has not fully defined or reported total costs for DOD's global posture strategy. DOD's 2008 Report to Congress estimates the total cost for all global defense posture initiatives at $9 to $12 billion, which is essentially unchanged from the amount reported in 2004.However, the DOD's cost estimate likely understates the total costs associated with restructuring DOD's global posture, because it does not report the total cost of each initiative, assumptions about host nation support, the full share of U.S. obligations, or sustainment costs. Includes GAO recommendations. Illus.
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