The Defense Department used faulty numbers to assess its Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) numbers according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

Before implementing BRAC moves, the DoD produced reports in 1998 and 2004 that estimated excess base capacity to be 23 percent and 24 percent, respectively. Yet the GAO report released on June 20 said these estimations had numerous flaws including the DoD’s estimation that each base have only one category. This method omitted “significant portions” of the bases from estimates, the report said.

“DOD’s testimony in March 2012 and again in March 2013, that it had about 20 percent excess capacity remaining after the end of BRAC 2005, relied on earlier calculations that the department made in 2004 and 2005,” the report noted.

DoD also used 1989 as a baseline to determine the needed capacity for 2009, since it believed that the bases and facilities were appropriately sized in that year. It is therefore uncertain to what extent DOD’s estimates of excess capacity are overstated or understated,” the report said.

Also, the Defense Department didn’t accurately identify excess capacity or shortage of capacity, but instead reported these instances as zero capacity. If it had been reported there was an excess or shortage capacities, estimations would have found fewer excess bases the report says.

The DoD agreed with the report findings, saying that it properly highlighted the limitations of its approach used to estimate excess capacity and that the report provides “proper context for its methodology by contrasting it with the extensive and detailed data collection and analysis that DOD has used to develop BRAC recommendations.”

However, when recommendations were given for specific base closures and realignments to the BRAC Commission, the process has been more data-intensive that the estimates of excess capacity. For example, the BRAC recommendations in 2005 were based on an estimated 25 million pieces of capacity and military value data from DOD databases and from hundreds of defense installations, the report noted.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.