The size of military installations – to include both population and square footage of building space – is the largest factor associated with their operations. Total size topped a list of five characteristics that determine the costs of running military installations, as determined by a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study of 2016 data – the most recent available.
During that year, the Defense Department spent $25 billion on costs associated with base operations support – roughly four percent of its total budget – CBO reported.
In reviewing the 2016 data, CBO analyzed statistics gleaned from 200 bases from each of the four armed services, accounting for roughly 90 percent of all active-duty installations. Besides measuring the number of civilian and military personnel and the building space they occupy, CBO also looked at location, the host service branch, climate, cost of living, and the number of transient personnel at each base.
The CBO analysis also concluded that the cost associated with adding additional personnel to extremely large installations was less significant than increasing the population of smaller bases. Likewise, it proved cheaper to add building space to larger bases than smaller ones.
The Pentagon and Congress could use the CBO data to project future changes, the authors stated. It would be more cost effective to relocate units to larger bases than smaller ones in most cases, according to CBO.