DOD Not Taking Advantage of Opportunities to Reduce Dependence on Leased Space

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR DOD may be missing opportunities to reduce its leased space because the department has not considered the impact of force reductions on existing leased facilities, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).The agency found six Army leases for administrative space within 50 miles of installations slated for reductions in force structure. The annual cost of the leases totals about $4.1 million for 249,000 square feet.“It is important that DOD plan ahead when it anticipates force reductions, in order to properly assess its future infrastructure requirements,” GAO stated.Army officials told the agency it would take two years to conduct an assessment to determine whether DOD-owned property, other federal property or a leased facility is the best solution to meet a DOD organization’s space requirements.In its comments to the report, DOD noted that a new Army execution order requires commanders to plan and implement footprint reductions and emphasizes the need to move Army activities out of leased space.The congressional watchdog agency found that officials do not share information on underutilized space that potentially could be used when there is a new lease requirement. It previously reported that officials at the DOD, service and installation levels do not conduct outreach regarding the availability of underutilized space on installations because it would be an administrative burden, especially if there is not a significant amount of surplus space.DOD officials cited a number of factors that must be considered before deciding to move an activity from leased space onto an installation, including the condition of the underutilized space, whether the installation’s infrastructure could accommodate additional personnel and whether a new activity would interfere with the installation’s mission.While those factors need to be evaluated when making a decision to vacate leased space, GAO concluded that some opportunities to reduce reliance on leased space may exist given the possibility that force structure reductions will occur in the future.DOD did not concur with GAO’s recommendation that the military departments look for opportunities to relocate DOD organizations in leased space onto installations with underutilized space, however, as existing policy already requires the efficient use of real estate. The department also pointed to recent initiatives by the services to reduce their reliance on leased space.last_img

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