Crumbling Military Bases
September 10, 2001
Military observers report that U.S. bases are in dilapidated condition. Runways are crumbling. Roofs leak. Sewer lines are corroded. Offices are cramped. And barracks have come to look like tenements.
The reason is that the Defense Department simply doesn't have the money for needed repairs and upkeep.
- Based on the Pentagon's annual construction budget of $3.9 billion, it would take 192 years to replace all its facilities.
- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld estimates that it would take $63 billion through 2010 to upgrade all the bases in need for reconstruction.
- There are 398 major military bases in the U.S. -- 97 fewer than in 1988, when Congress agreed to begin closing installations.
- Estimating that it still has 25 percent more buildings, road and utilities than it needs, the Pentagon says it could save $3.5 billion a year if Congress approves base closings in 2003.
Under a Pentagon ranking system that rates installations on the quality and quantity of facilities, 69 percent have "significant" or "major" deficiencies that prevent troops from performing their missions -- up from 60 percent in just one year.
Source: Andrea Stone, "USA's Military Bases Turning Into Slums," USA Today, September 6, 2001.
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