GAO report notes more reliable cost estimates and planning neede - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GAO report notes more reliable cost estimates and planning needed

 


GUAM - Known as the congressional watchdog or the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office or GAO, released a report this morning indicating that the Department of Defense's preliminary cost estimate for its current realignment plan is not reliable. This as a result of missing costs and limited data. Military chair Senator Frank Aguon Jr. says while shortcomings were identified, he welcomes the report.
 
"When we're talking about a relocation that could possibly cost in the neighborhood of 12.1 billion dollars and the federal government is going to foot most of that bill, then certainly they need to have sufficient information" Aguon explained.
 
That 12.1 billion dollar figure is noted in the report. As is statements from DOD officials that the Defense department has not yet been able to put together a more reliable cost estimate until an environmental analysis along negotiations with host nations are completed. Aguon agrees.
 
"Once the supplemental EIS is complete then they can identify one, two or three possible sights and when that's done then they can start narrowing down the overall costs of what the military relocation cost will be for the people of Guam and for the DOD" Aguon said.
 
The report however notes that DOD did not include some up-front practices that could have provided more reliable estimates not dependent on an environmental analysis. Additionally, without reliable estimates, DOD will not be able to provide Congress and other stakeholders with the information Congress needs to make informed decisions regarding the realignment.
It was last year when the buildup numbers were redefined through the U.S. and Japan's announcement that the roadmap readjustment would instead be about 47-hundred troops to Guam with others to go to Hawaii and Australia. Aguon says the costs would be more telling next year when the Guam SEIS is finalized regarding the sites for the live fire training range and the main cantonment and housing area. 

From concern related to costs for infrastructure along with inventory of housing on Guam, Aguon says the over 100-page report is indicative that the buildup is happening and somewhat supported.
 
"If we look at the time lines that have been set, this report reminds the Department of Defense and the federal government that there's still a lot of work that needs to be done" the senator explained.
 
It was back in April when members from the U.S. GAO were on island and met with island leaders including Aguon, several government agencies and officials from the military. The trip was part of a congressional mandate set forth in the National Defense Authorization Act to validate the Guam buildup infrastructure requirements.

 

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