|From:||CPEO Moderator <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||18 Jun 2003 18:20:10 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Better DOD Guidance Needed to Ensure That the Most Important Activiti|
The following is an excerpt from the GAO report "ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE Better DOD Guidance Needed to Ensure That the Most Important Activities Are Funded". On page 7 of the report (page 10 of the file) GAO provides a simple explanation of the classification system the Defense Department uses to prioritize environmental quality activities. ___________________________________________________________________ DODís and the servicesí policies and processes for the environmental quality program do not always ensure that program funds are targeted to the most important and appropriate environmental activities. Instead, GAO found that some installations have funded low-priority or other activities that were ineligible under their environmental quality funding policies, at the same time that higher-priority activities were not funded. For example, at certain large installations that GAO visited, low-priority activities, such as noise monitoring, or ineligible activities, such as pest management, landscaping, and roof replacement, were funded while high-priority activities to prevent soil erosion were not. At the root of the problem is DODís broad program policy that does not provide specific guidance on what activities are eligible for the program and the resulting inconsistent interpretation and implementation of this policy by the military services. DODís policy requires that all high-priority activities be funded, but gives the services broad discretion in how this policy is put into place. As a result, GAO found (1) inconsistencies across and within the services about which activities are eligible for environmental quality program funding and (2) the funding of some activities through the program that more closely relate to military operations or base maintenance. For example, some services use program funds for oil and hazardous material spill response plans, equipment, and cleanup costs, while other services require the organization responsible for the spill to pay for the cleanup portion of those costs. Similarly, service policies can differ regarding responsibility for funding maintenance of structures such as water and sewer treatment facilities and historic buildings. Without a consistently implemented approach, there is no assurance that DODís requirement to fund all high-priority activities is being met. Instead, some high-priority projects are being deferred. Generally, these deferrals involve projects that, although required by law, do not have to be completed by specific dates (e.g., surveys of properties required by historic preservation law). Deferring such activities, however, can lead to larger and more costly problems later. Moreover, to fund unbudgeted emergency environmental activities, the installations may have to defer other high-priority environmental program activities, obtain funds from other sources at the installation such as maintenance activities, or obtain funds from higher command levels. Some services have recently indicated that the availability of funds for environmental activities is likely to get worse in future years, because of expected reductions in their budgets for this program. Such constraints make a well-implemented prioritization process even more important. The full report can be viewed as a PDF file at: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03639.pdf ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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