PoliticalNews.me - May 29,2011 - GAO Report Validates Recommendations for Bases in East Asia; Action Needed to Re-Examine DoD Planning
GAO: DoD plans lack critical information, understate costs, ignore alternatives
Thursday, May 26, 2011
WASHINGTON — A new independent study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides new evidence in support of the recommendations made by U.S. Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jim Webb (D-VA) for the Department of Defense (DoD) to re-examine its plans to realign U.S. military bases in East Asia.
The in-depth GAO report, issued May 25, concluded that DoD planning to transform its facilities in Asia lacks critical cost information and an analysis of alternatives that are essential to assess the projects’ affordability. Moreover, GAO found that DoD’s “understated” cost estimates “may significantly increase.”
The GAO report comports with proposals the three Senators announced May 11 when they warned that current DoD realignment plans for East Asia were “unrealistic, unworkable, and unaffordable.” The senators offered alternative recommendations to reduce costs while ensuring a continuous and vigorous U.S. presence in the region.
The GAO estimates more than $27 billion is required to realign military bases on Okinawa and Guam, which is considerably higher than initial projections. The GAO also concluded that a DoD initiative to extend the tour length of military personnel in South Korea while authorizing family members to accompany them could cost $5 billion by 2020.
“The GAO report underscores our concerns,” said Senator Levin. “Certain projects in Korea, Japan and Guam have gotten to the point that it is clearly in the best interests of our countries, and in the best interests of sustaining and furthering our strong alliances, to re-examine these plans and adjust them to fiscal, political and strategic realities.”
“The GAO report provides a solid justification with the concurrence of the Department of Defense that we need to take a pause in the use of taxpayer funds for these initiatives until we have a better understanding of the cost, strategic value to our national security interests, and the interests of our allies in the region,” said Senator John McCain.
“There is an urgent need to address these basing issues in the current appropriations cycle,” said Senator Webb. “Our recommendations will allow DoD to develop workable, cost-effective alternatives that will strengthen our nation’s commitment to the security of East Asia and also our alliances with Korea and Japan.”
Senator Levin is chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, Senator McCain is the committee’s ranking member, and Senator Webb is chair of the committee’s Personnel Subcommittee and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee.