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U.S. Special Operations Command Controls Over the Requirements Development Process for Military Construction Projects Need Improvement (Redacted)

DODIG-2016-099

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Objective

We determined whether U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) developed requirements for military construction (MILCON) projects in accordance with DoD guidance. Specifically, we determined whether USSOCOM justified the need for the MILCON facilities requested and whether USSOCOM scoped the facility size and estimated cost in accordance with DoD guidance. We nonstatistically selected two USSOCOM Component MILCON projects at Fort Bragg for review— one for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and one for U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).

Findings

AFSOC officials did not fully justify the need for the Special Operations Forces 21st Special Tactics Squadron operations project, valued at $16.9 million. AFSOC officials justified the need for an operations facility, but not for an indoor small arms range. This occurred because USSOCOM did not require Components to confirm that the project justification was accurate.

AFSOC officials also did not support scope calculations and cost estimates for the operations facility. This occurred because USSOCOM did not require Components to maintain documentation that fully supports scope calculations and cost estimates for MILCON requirements. Scope of work reductions must be approved by the Secretary concerned and the appropriate committee of Congress must be notified.

As a result, AFSOC officials planned to build a facility they may not need, and the facility’s estimated cost of $4 million could be used for other MILCON projects. Additionally, USSOCOM lacks assurance that AFSOC officials properly scoped and estimated the cost of the operations facility.

For the other project, USASOC officials justified the need for the Special Operations Forces battalion operations project, valued at $38.5 million. However, USASOC officials did not fully support scope calculations and cost estimates for the project. This occurred because USSOCOM did not require Components to maintain documentation that fully supports scope calculations and cost estimates.

As a result, USSOCOM lacks assurance that USASOC officials properly scoped and estimated the cost of the battalion operations project.

Recommendations

Among other recommendations, we recommend the Commander, USSOCOM:

  • notify Congress of the scope reduction for project TMKH003003 to remove the indoor small arms range in accordance with section 2853, title 10, United States Code; and
  • update USSOCOM Directive 415-1 to require Components to maintain documentation to fully support scope calculations and cost estimates for MILCON requirements.

Management Comments and Our Response

Comments from the Vice Commander, USSOCOM, responding for the Commander, USSOCOM, did not address the specifics of the recommendations. The Vice Commander said USSOCOM plans to leave the small arms range requirement in the project. The Vice Commander also stated that USSOCOM maintains that the unit commander has sufficiently justified the small arms range portion of the project. We responded that DoD Components use Form 1391 to explain and justify facility needs. However, AFSOC did not support Form 1391 statements for the indoor small arms range.

In addition, the Vice Commander stated that USSOCOM Directive 415-1 “Oversight and Management of United States Special Operations Command Military Construction Program,” June 23, 2010, addresses the intent of the recommendation. The Vice Commander also stated that USSOCOM Directive 415-1 does not relieve AFSOC and USASOC of the obligation to follow Air Force and Army requirements, respectively. We responded that USSOCOM Directive 415-1 does not provide procedures for validating MILCON projects that require Components to confirm the accuracy of the project justification on Form 1391. Further, if USSOCOM intends for Components to follow their respective Service requirements, it should update USSOCOM Directive 415-1 to require Components to follow their respective Service requirements.

Therefore, we request that the Commander, USSOCOM, provide additional comments in response to the final report by July 18, 2016.

This report is a result of Project No. D2015-D000CI-0230.000.