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Overcapacity in Defense Labs

January 03, 1997

Department of Defense figures show there is approximately 35 percent excess capacity in its laboratory infrastructure, according to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report.

The finding comes in a GAO long term study of the Department of Defense's progress in reducing infrastructure costs to offset increases in spending for readiness and weapons modernization. As part of that study, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) infrastructure and, in the fall of 1996, conducted briefings on the results. A summary of those briefings has been released as a GAO report, Defense Acquisition Infrastructure: Changes in RDT&E Laboratories and Centers.

According to GAO, there are 55 military service research, development, engineering, test, and evaluation laboratories and centers world wide. Efforts to reduce the capacity have focused on management and operating changes. GAO suggests that DOD must do more in terms of RDT&E consolidations and reductions.

The report also indicates that GAO is reviewing laboratory reductions undertaken in the United Kingdom and by private industry in the U.S. for lessons that may be applicable to the federal laboratory infrastructure.

Copies of the report (GAO/NSIAD-96-221BR) are available from GAO at 202/512-6000 or through the GAO home page at http:// www.gao.gov