Even when it's not at war, the Department of Defense is an enormous and expensive beast. This became known when Congress asked the Department of Defense what it would cost to replace all of its current bases and structures. The number was about $500 billion. This includes about 600,000 buildings on 7,000 installations, covering about 30 million acres. Much of the land is in rural areas, and this makes it relatively cheap (averaging $16,000 per acre, with buildings and other improvements). Some of the land, located in desert or wilderness areas, is very cheap. But the facilities owned in Germany, are rather more expensive, averaging $242,000 an acre. These include 15,000 buildings on 157,891 acres. Despite the reluctance of Congress to close unneeded bases (and about a third are considered unneeded), the local economy tends to improve once the base is closed and the land and buildings converted to commercial use.