#4

050 National Defense:Close Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
    583
  • 2017
    585
  • 2018
    586
  • 2019
    593
  • 2020
    607
  • 2021
    620
  • 2022
    633
  • 2023
    650
  • 2024
    663
  • 2025
    675
  • 2016-2020
    2954
  • 2016-2025
    6195

Sources

Savings are expressed as budget authority based on the FY 2014 enacted spending level as found on page DoDDE-368 of Department of Defense, “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Estimates Department of Defense Dependents Education (DoDDE)”. Spending levels have been increased at the same rate as discretionary spending for 2016–2025, according to the CBO’s most recent August 2014 baseline spending projections.

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Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.

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Heritage Recommendation:

Close the Defense Department’s Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary schools (DDESS) on military bases in the continental United States. This proposal saves $583 million in 2016, and $6.2 billion over 10 years.

Rationale:

DOD doesn’t need redundant schools where it spends $70k per pupil above national average

The Pentagon’s DDESS currently operates 63 schools on military bases in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. The majority of these, 58 schools, are in South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, and North Carolina. These schools were necessary following World War II because, while the military was racially integrated, the school districts in those states were not. That justification has long since disappeared. Today, the dependents of military members in all other states attend local public schools.

Not only are these schools unnecessary they are inefficient.1 The Fiscal Commission estimates that the cost per student in FY 2015 will be $81,000, far higher than the $11,000 average cost per student in the rest of the country. The department is now rebuilding the schools and plans on opening two new schools in Virginia and North Carolina in FY 2015.2

There is no need for the military to be operating schools in these states and the Pentagon should promptly close the schools and transfer military dependents into the local school systems.

Endnotes

  1. Senator Tom Coburn, “Department of Everything,” November 2012, p. 48, (accessed November 12, 2014). 

  2. U.S. Department of Defense, Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Estimates Department of Defense Dependents Education (DoDDE), March 2014, p. DODDE 382, (accessed November 12, 2014). 

DOD doesn’t need redundant schools where it spends $70k per pupil above national average

Contributing Expert

Diem Nguyen Salmon is the Senior Policy Analyst for Defense Budgeting in the Heritage Foundation's Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Intimately familiar with both U.S. defense platforms and government contracting practices, she brings special expertise to questions of defense hardware investment.

See publications by Diem Nguyen Salmon

Diem Nguyen SalmonSenior Policy Analyst for Defense Budgeting

Heritage Experts

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, is The Heritage Foundation's Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, E. W. Richardson Fellow, and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

See publications by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow

Steven Bucci, who served America for three decades as an Army Special Forces officer and top Pentagon official, is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

See publications by Steven Bucci

Steven BucciDirector, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy

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