The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. General Accounting Office can’t agree whether Guam and Hawaii and other areas in the Pacific are treated as overseas locations — like Japan and South Korea — or regarded as a domestic locale like any other state in the union.
While the designation has many ramifications in this case the argument is whether to reveal information on such topics as facility requirements and funding levels.
The General Accounting Office in a June 27 report suggested the U.S. Department of Defense provide information regarding funding and facility needs for the Pacific — overseas locations — among other information areas to improve the accuracy of reports.
In the report the GAO repeated its recommendation to DoD more than four times.
“Opportunities exist to improve the completeness clarity and consistency of the commands’ reporting of various items — host nation agreements and funding levels U.S. funding levels and sources; environmental remediation and restoration issues; population levels; and facility requirements and funding levels for Hawaii Guam U.S. territories and insular areas in the Pacific.”
Another section of the report reads “In compliance with OSD’s [The Office of the Secretary of Defense] guidance defining overseas locations the commands reported on requirements and funding for U.S. facilities in foreign countries and thus excluded the 50 states and U.S. territories. Based on the guidance PACOM [U.S. Pacific Command] included Japan South Korea Diego Garcia and several other countries located in its area of responsibility and excluded any detailed discussion of facility requirements and funding levels for Hawaii Guam U.S. territories and other insular areas in the Pacific — strategic basing locations in the theater.”
The report outlines one reason for the exclusion. GAO further wrote “Officials explained that Hawaii and Guam were excluded in part because they were included in DOD’s ongoing base closure and realignment process. However the omission of these locations does not provide users full representation of U.S. military presence infrastructure requirements and associated U.S. funding levels in the Pacific.”
The GAO report argued “Given that they are increasingly integral to achieving PACOM’s strategic objectives and that the base closure and realignment decisions will be finalized later this year their decision in future PACOM master plans would provide users more complete information so they can comprehend the full magnitude of facility requirements and associated costs in the Pacific.”
DoD’s response to the GAO recommendation and the department’s position was outlined in a letter dated June 20. The department begged to differ.
DoD’s response: “Nonconcur. Hawaii and U.S. territories in the Pacific are no different from other U.S. facilities within the Continental United States (CONUS) and Alaska. It is inappropriate to include them in overseas master plan requirements.” MBJ