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Report to Congressional Committees:

July 2003:

DEFENSE MANAGEMENT:

Opportunities to Reduce Corrosion Costs and Increase Readiness:

GAO-03-753:

GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-03-753, a report to Congressional Committees 

Why GAO Did This Study:

The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains equipment and infrastructure 
worth billions of dollars in many environments where corrosion is 
causing military assets to deteriorate, shortening their useful life. 
The resulting increase in required repairs and replacements drives up 
costs and takes critical systems out of action, reducing mission 
readiness.

GAO was asked to review military activities related to corrosion 
control. Specifically, this report examines the extent of the impact 
of corrosion on DOD and the military services and the extent of the 
effectiveness of DODís and the servicesí approach to preventing and 
mitigating corrosion.

what GAO Found:

Although the full impact of corrosion cannot be quantified due to the 
limited amount of reliable data captured by DOD and the military 
services, current cost estimates, readiness, and safety data indicate 
that corrosion has a substantial impact on military equipment and 
infrastructure. In 2001, a government-sponsored study estimated the 
costs of corrosion for military systems and infrastructure at about 
$20 billion annually and found corrosion to be one of the largest 
components of life-cycle costs for weapon systems. Corrosion also 
reduces readiness because the need to repair or replace corrosion 
damage increases the downtime of critical military assets. For 
example, a recent study concluded that corrective maintenance of 
corrosion-related faults has degraded the readiness of all of the 
Armyís approximately 2,450 force modernization helicopters. Finally, a 
number of serious safety concerns have also been associated with 
corrosion, including Navy F-14 and F-18 landing gear failures during 
carrier operations and crashes of several Air Force F-16 aircraft due 
to the corrosion of electrical contacts that control fuel valves. 

DOD and the military services do not have an effective approach to 
prevent and mitigate corrosion. They have had some successes in 
addressing corrosion problems on individual programs, but several 
weaknesses are preventing DOD and the military services from achieving 
much greater benefits, including potentially billions of dollars in 
additional net savings annually. Each service has multiple corrosion 
offices, and their different policies, procedures, and funding 
channels limit coordination. Also, the goals and incentives that guide 
these offices sometimes conflict with those of the operational 
commands that they rely on to fund project implementation. As a 
result, proposed projects are often assigned a lower priority compared 
to efforts offering more immediate results. Together, these problems 
reduce the effectiveness of DOD corrosion prevention. While DOD is in 
the process of establishing a central corrosion control activity and 
strategy, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will effectively 
address these weaknesses.

What GAO Recommends:

The departmentwide strategic plan currently being developed should 
contain clearly defined goals; measurable, outcome-oriented 
objectives; and performance measures. The strategy should also 
identify standardized methods for evaluating project proposals, 
estimating resource needs, and coordinating projects in an 
interservice and servicewide context. The military services should 
develop overarching strategic plans consistent with the departmentwide 
plan. In written comments, DOD agreed with all of these 
recommendations.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-753.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click 
on the link above. For more information, contact William Solis at 
(202) 512-8365 or solisw@gao.gov.

[End of section]

Letter:

Results in Brief:

Background:

Impacts on Military Costs, Readiness, and Safety Indicate That 
Corrosion Is an Extensive Problem:

DOD and Services' Approach to Corrosion Control Is Not Effective 
but Has Achieved Some Successes:

Conclusion:

Recommendations for Executive Action:

Agency Comments:

Appendixes:

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology:

Appendix II: Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts That Have Not 
Realized Their Full Potential: 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Figures:

Figure 1: Corrosion on Army 5-Ton Truck in Hawaii:

Figure 2: Corroding Bridge Columns at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, 
Hawaii:

Figure 3: Corrosion on Army UH-60L Black Hawk Helicopter:

Figure 4: Corroded 500-Pound Bombs at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam:

Figure 5: Cracked Runway at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, California:

Figure 6: Marine Corps Helicopter Rinsing Facility Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii:

Figure 7: Army National Guard Controlled Humidity Preservation:

Figure 8: K-Span Shelter at Army Reserve Unit Fort Shafter, Hawaii:

Figure 9: Corroded Connectors on Air Force F-16 Main Fuel Shutoff 
Valve:

Figure 10: Corrosion Inhibitor Application Facility at Army's Schofield 
Barracks, Hawaii:

Figure 11: Corrosion on High Temperature Pipelines at Air Force Tracking 
Facility Antigua, West Indies:

Figure 12: Corroded Air-Conditioning Valves at Quantico Marine Corps 
Base, Virginia:

Abbreviations:

ASPRCS: Aviation Systems Performance Readiness and Corrosion Study:

DOD: Department of Defense:

GPRA: Government Performance and Results Act of 1993:

HMMWV: High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles:

Letter July 7, 2003:

The Honorable John Ensign 
Chairman 
The Honorable Daniel Akaka 
Ranking Minority Member 
Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support 
Committee on Armed Services 
United States Senate:

The Honorable Joel Hefley 
Chairman 
The Honorable Solomon Ortiz 
Ranking Minority Member 
Subcommittee on Readiness 
Committee on Armed Services 
House of Representatives:

The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains equipment and infrastructure 
worth billions of dollars in many environments where corrosion, in one 
form or another, is causing military assets to deteriorate, shortening 
their useful lives. The resulting increase in needed repairs and 
replacements drives up costs and takes critical systems out of action, 
reducing mission readiness.[Footnote 1] Corrosion can also create 
severe safety hazards leading to loss of life when, for example, 
corroded electrical contacts in aircraft cause system failures during 
flight. Because numerous advances in products and technologies have 
been found to enhance efforts to prevent and mitigate corrosion, it is 
critical that DOD, as the steward of an enormous investment in military 
assets, ensure that all appropriate measures are implemented to reduce 
corrosion costs to the greatest extent possible.

The Congress, recognizing corrosion as a serious military concern, 
enacted legislation as part of the Bob Stump National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 which requires DOD to designate 
a senior official or organization responsible for preventing and 
mitigating the corrosion of military equipment and 
infrastructure.[Footnote 2] The act requires the designated official or 
organization to oversee and coordinate efforts throughout the 
department, recommend policy guidance, and review the funding levels 
proposed by each military service. The Secretary of Defense is required 
to develop and implement a long-term strategy to reduce the effects 
of corrosion.

You requested that we review military activities related to the 
prevention and mitigation of corrosion. In this report we address the 
following questions: (1) What is the extent of the impact of corrosion 
on the military services' equipment and facilities? (2) To what extent 
do DOD and the military services have an effective approach to prevent 
and mitigate corrosion?

To respond to these questions, we reviewed numerous studies and 
discussed military corrosion impact issues with experts in and outside 
DOD. To examine DOD and the military services' approach to corrosion 
prevention and mitigation, we visited field installations and developed 
several case studies on specific corrosion prevention and mitigation 
efforts that are summarized in appendix II and referred to throughout 
the report. More detailed information about our scope and methodology 
is contained in appendix I.

Results in Brief:

Although the full impact of corrosion cannot be quantified due to the 
limited amount of reliable data captured by DOD and the military 
services, data on current cost estimates,[Footnote 3] readiness, and 
safety indicate that corrosion has a substantial impact on military 
equipment and infrastructure. For example, in 2001, a 2-year, 
government-sponsored study estimated the direct costs of corrosion for 
military systems and infrastructure at approximately $20 billion 
annually and found corrosion to be one of the largest components of 
life-cycle costs for military weapon systems.[Footnote 4] Another study 
puts the cost at closer to $10 billion.[Footnote 5] Corrosion has also 
been shown to substantially increase equipment downtime, thereby 
reducing readiness. For example, a 2001 study concluded that corrective 
maintenance of corrosion-related faults has degraded the readiness of 
all of the Army's approximately 2,450 force modernization helicopters; 
the Army estimated in 1998 that approximately $4 billion was spent on 
corrosion repair of helicopters alone. In 2001, DOD also reported that 
more than two thirds of its military facilities have serious 
deficiencies and are in such poor condition that they are unable to 
meet certain mission requirements; corrosion was identified as a major 
contributor to much of this deterioration. Finally, a number of safety 
concerns have also been associated with corrosion. During the 1980s, 
the crashes of several F-16 aircraft were traced to corroded electrical 
contacts that caused uncommanded fuel valve closures. More recently, 
Navy F-14 and F-18 aircraft have experienced landing gear failures 
(collapses) during carrier operations that were attributed to 
corrosion-related cracking.

DOD and the military services do not have an effective approach to 
prevent and mitigate corrosion. While the military services have 
achieved some successes on individual corrosion prevention projects, 
their overall approach to corrosion control has significant weaknesses 
that have decreased the effectiveness of their efforts. For example, 
DOD does not have a strategic plan for corrosion prevention and 
mitigation, and the services have either not developed such plans or 
have not implemented them. While DOD is in the process of establishing 
a central corrosion control office, no single office exists within each 
of the military services to manage corrosion control over equipment and 
infrastructure. Instead, each service has multiple corrosion offices 
within various operational units and weapon systems programs. These 
offices often have different policies, procedures, and funding channels 
that limit coordination and standardization. In many cases, corrosion 
control officials were not aware of the activities and achievements of 
their counterparts in other commands and across the services. Further, 
corrosion control offices act largely in an advisory role and are 
guided by goals and incentives that sometimes conflict with those of 
the operational commands that they rely on to fund project 
implementation. As a result, many proposed projects--even those with 
the potential for very large future-year cost savings--are often 
assigned a low funding priority compared to operations and repair 
projects offering more immediate results. These weaknesses combine to 
reduce the overall effectiveness of DOD's approach to corrosion control 
and result in the services missing important opportunities to achieve 
greater benefits, including potentially billions of dollars in 
additional net savings annually that would accrue from a long-term 
reduction in corrosion of military equipment and infrastructure.

To strengthen DOD's approach to corrosion control, we are recommending 
that it define and incorporate into its long-term corrosion mitigation 
strategy measurable, outcome-oriented objectives and performance 
measures that show progress toward achieving results. In addition, we 
are recommending that the strategy include a number of elements to 
address problems and limitations we identified in current corrosion 
prevention efforts. In comments on a draft of this report, DOD 
generally concurred with all our recommendations. The department also 
provided technical clarifications, which we incorporated as 
appropriate.

Background:

Corrosion affects all military assets, including approximately 
350,000 ground and tactical vehicles, 15,000 aircraft and helicopters, 
1,000 strategic missiles, and 300 ships. Maintenance activities--
including corrosion control--involve nearly 700,000 military (active 
and reserve) and DOD civilian personnel, as well as several thousand 
commercial firms worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of additional mission 
support assets and thousands of facilities are also affected.

Corrosion is defined as the unintended destruction or deterioration of 
a material due to interaction with the environment. It includes such 
varied forms as rusting; pitting; galvanic reaction; calcium or other 
mineral build up; degradation due to ultraviolet light exposure; and 
mold, mildew, or other organic decay. It can be either readily visible 
or microscopic. Factors influencing the development and rate of 
corrosion include the type and design of the material, the presence of 
electrolytes (water, minerals, and salts), the availability of oxygen, 
the ambient temperature, and the amount of exposure to the environment. 
The rate of corrosion increases exponentially when the ambient humidity 
is over 50 percent. Corrosion can also occur in the absence of water, 
but only at high temperatures, such as in gas turbine engines.

The effects of corrosion on DOD equipment and infrastructure have 
become more prominent as the acquisition of new equipment has slowed 
and more reliance is placed on the service of aging equipment and 
infrastructure. The aging of military systems poses a unique challenge 
for maintenance and corrosion control for all services.[Footnote 6]

A number of DOD and commercial studies have identified and evaluated 
technologies and techniques for corrosion prevention and control. The 
studies indicate that although effective corrosion prevention and 
control methods and technologies are well known and have been 
recommended for years, they have not been implemented effectively. The 
studies also identify a number of relatively simple solutions--such as 
covered storage, controlled environment, washing and rinsing, spray-on 
rust inhibitors, and protective wrapping--to mitigate and control the 
effects of corrosion.

Congress has recognized the need to significantly reduce the economic 
burden on the military services of the damage caused by corrosion and 
of the efforts to mitigate its adverse affects. In November 2002, 
Congress passed the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 2003, which required the Department of Defense to take the 
following steps:

* Designate a responsible official or organization within the 
department to (1) oversee and coordinate corrosion prevention and 
mitigation of military equipment and infrastructure; (2) develop and 
recommend policy guidance; (3) review programs and funding levels; and 
(4) provide oversight and coordination of the efforts to incorporate 
corrosion control during the design, acquisition, and maintenance of 
military equipment and infrastructure.

* Develop and implement a long-term strategy to reduce corrosion and 
the effects of corrosion on the military equipment and infrastructure 
of the Department of Defense not later than 1 year after the date of 
the enactment of the act.

* Submit to Congress an Interim Report regarding the actions taken to 
date by the corrosion control office when the President submits the 
budget for fiscal year 2004. On May 22, 2003, DOD submitted the report.

Impacts on Military Costs, Readiness, and Safety Indicate That 
Corrosion Is an Extensive Problem:

Numerous studies in recent years have documented the pervasive nature 
of corrosion and its various effects on military equipment and 
infrastructure. Although the full impact of corrosion cannot be 
quantified due to the limited amount of reliable data captured by DOD 
and the military services, current cost estimates, readiness, and 
safety data indicate that corrosion has a substantial effect on 
military equipment and infrastructure. Costs are significant because 
corroded military assets must often be repaired or replaced at great 
expense. Readiness is also severely impaired because corrosion 
increases the maintenance needed and, therefore, the downtime on a 
large quantities of military equipment. The effects extend to 
infrastructure, which, in turn, has an adverse impact on the military's 
ability to meet mission requirements. Further, corrosion has an equally 
profound effect on the safety of equipment and infrastructure.

Corrosion Costs Appear to Be Enormous:

Corrosion's impact on military costs appears to be enormous, 
representing one of the largest life-cycle cost components of military 
weapon systems. In a 2001 government-sponsored study, corrosion is 
estimated to cost the Department of Defense at least $20 billion a 
year. Another study done in 1996 puts the cost at closer to $10 billion 
annually. The costs identified in these reports are direct costs such 
as the manpower and material that are used primarily to inspect and 
repair damage resulting from corrosion. However, there are also 
indirect costs that, were they to be quantified, would significantly 
increase the total reported costs. Indirect costs include the loss of 
the opportunity to use equipment that is not in operating condition. 
Although extensive equipment downtime results from corrosion, the 
attendant financial impacts have not been fully captured. Even more 
difficult to quantify is the cost of using equipment that, while not 
inoperable, has diminished utility due to corrosion. Considering the 
enormous total value of all of the equipment owned by the military 
services, these costs are considerable, to say the least. Corrosion 
also shortens the service life and accelerates the depreciation of DOD 
facilities, which in a recent GAO report are estimated to have a 
replacement value of over $435 billion.[Footnote 7] This impact on 
facilities translates into costs that are not included in the 
government corrosion cost study.

There are numerous examples of how profoundly corrosion affects costs. 
For example, in 1993, the Army estimated spending about $2 billion to 
$2.5 billion a year to mitigate the corrosion of wheeled vehicles, 
including 5-ton trucks.[Footnote 8] (See fig. 1.):

Figure 1: Corrosion on Army 5-Ton Truck in Hawaii:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Corrosion was found to be so extensive on some of the trucks that the 
repair costs were greater than 65 percent of the average cost of a new 
vehicle. Cost impacts appear to be even greater on Army helicopters, as 
evidenced by a 1998 analysis estimating costs of about $4 billion to 
repair damage attributed to corrosion.[Footnote 9] Corrosion is also a 
formidable cost driver to the Navy. As an illustration, the Navy's 
Pacific and Atlantic Fleets estimate that about 25 percent of their 
total combined annual maintenance budget is directed to the prevention 
and correction of corrosion. Navy officials told us that the prevention 
and removal of corrosion on shipboard tanks alone costs the Navy over 
$174 million a year. Navy facilities such as waterfront structures are 
also decaying because of corrosion, and these facilities will need to 
be replaced at considerable cost. For example, naval military 
construction projects estimated to cost $727 million are required to 
restore 20 piers that have suffered extensive corrosion damage. 
(See fig. 2.):

Figure 2: Corroding Bridge Columns at Naval Station Pearl 
Harbor, Hawaii:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]


In 1990, the Air Force estimated the cost of corrosion to be about 
$700 million. Interestingly, even though the number of operational 
Air Force aircraft decreased significantly, corrosion costs for the 
Air Force increased to over $1 billion by 2001,[Footnote 10] or 
$300 million more than previously reported.

Corrosion Substantially Degrades Equipment and Facilities Readiness:

Corrosion has been shown to substantially increase equipment downtime, 
thereby reducing readiness. Whether it affects a truck, helicopter, 
ship, or pipeline, corrosion is a major contributor to the amount of 
maintenance required on military equipment and infrastructure. 
Depending on the kind and severity of corrosion, the maintenance may be 
performed as part of the scheduled maintenance cycle or as emergency 
repairs, especially when it involves safety concerns. Whether scheduled 
or not, maintenance translates into equipment downtime. As a result, 
readiness is diminished because the equipment cannot be used for 
training purposes or for other kinds of operations. In addition, 
corrosion contributes to or accelerates the deterioration of equipment 
and, therefore, reduces its service life. As a result, the condition of 
some equipment is assessed to have deteriorated beyond repair 
capability and the equipment is no longer usable.

The effects on readiness are extensive throughout the military 
services, and they are clearly evidenced in regard to military 
aircraft. For example, a 2001 study concluded that corrective 
maintenance of corrosion-related faults has degraded the readiness of 
all of the Army's approximately 2,450 force modernization helicopters. 
(See fig. 3.):

Figure 3: Corrosion on Army UH-60L Black Hawk Helicopter:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]


The effects on the Air Force's KC-135 are particularly pronounced, with 
corrosion identified as the reason for over 50 percent of the 
maintenance needed on the aircraft. While the Air Force has yet to 
quantify the total impact, one study identified corrosion of avionics 
equipment contacts to be a significant cause of failure rates on all 
Air Force aircraft. Because these failure rates affect equipment that 
is sophisticated and often occurs in hard-to-access areas, a 
significant amount of time is needed for testing, inspection, and 
repair. This extends aircraft downtime and reduces readiness levels. 
Corrosion has also reduced the readiness levels for the Navy's P-3C 
aircraft. According to Navy officials, corrosion has always been 
responsible for a large part of maintenance required for the aircraft, 
but the amount has doubled in recent years. While these officials do 
not have specific information regarding the effects of corrosion, they 
did note that in just the past year they had to ground two aircraft 
specifically because of severe corrosion.

The effects on readiness extend well beyond aviation and include 
virtually every type of equipment maintained and operated by the 
military. Corrosion also severely affects the readiness of other types 
of equipment, such as Army vehicles. In 1996, the Army identified 
corrosion as the reason why 17 percent of its trucks located in Hawaii 
were not mission capable. Earlier in 1993, the availability of the 
Army's High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) had been 
particularly diminished because of corrosion. While some of the 
vehicles were out of service for as long as a year, others had such 
severe corrosion that they had to be scrapped after 5 years, many years 
short of their expected 15-year service life. The Air Force also 
identified severe corrosion on its ground vehicles, resulting 
in increased maintenance and downtime. Some of the vehicles showed 
significant deterioration just months after being delivered to field 
units.

Corrosion and its impact on readiness are especially a concern for the 
Navy, because its ships operate in highly corrosive salt water and in 
high-humidity locations. A notable example of these effects occurred in 
2001 on the aircraft carrier USS John F Kennedy. Maintenance problems, 
including many that were corrosion-related, were so severe that the 
carrier could not complete its planned operations. Even more recently, 
the carrier USS Kitty Hawk returned from a series of deployments, 
including Operation Enduring Freedom, with significant maintenance 
problems that also included topside corrosion. As a result, the carrier 
is expected to undergo extensive maintenance.

Such effects are found Navy-wide, and the Navy estimates that about 
25 percent of its fleet maintenance budget goes toward corrosion 
prevention and control. This and other kinds of maintenance are largely 
completed at a Navy depot and require an average of 6 months. During 
this extended period of time, the ship is not available for service. 
The amount of time the ship is in the depot is due in part to the 
repairs needed because of corrosion; Navy officials told us this amount 
of corrosion-related maintenance is understated because it does not 
include the vast amount of manpower and resources spent on corrosion 
removal and repainting while the ships are on operations. These 
repairs, too, have an impact on readiness, because crew members who 
would normally be undergoing training or other kinds of operations are, 
instead, required to perform maintenance.

Corrosion also impairs the readiness of military armament. For example, 
the Army reported a significant number of failures due to corrosion on 
the 155 mm medium-towed howitzer so severe that they resulted in 
aborted missions. The study estimates that between 30 to 40 percent of 
the aborts are direct results of corrosion. Corrosion is also 
identified as accounting for 39 percent of all unscheduled maintenance 
for the howitzer, further reducing the readiness levels of the 
equipment. In addition, corrosion has affected the readiness of the Air 
Force's general purpose iron bombs. (See fig. 4.):

Figure 4: Corroded 500-Pound Bombs at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]


According to Air Force records, of the approximately 450,000 bombs of 
this type in the Air Force inventory, more than 107,000 (or over 
24 percent) have varying levels of deterioration caused by corrosion 
and, as a result, are not mission capable. While many of these bombs 
are repairable, a certain level of maintenance is needed to restore 
most of them to acceptable operational condition. Some of the bombs, 
however, are too severely corroded to be salvageable.

Military facilities are also decaying due to corrosion and, as a 
result, readiness is affected adversely. In 2001, the Department of 
Defense reported that more than two-thirds of its military facilities 
have serious deficiencies and are in such poor condition that they are 
unable to meet certain mission requirements. The department identifies 
corrosion as a major contributor to much of this deterioration. 
According to military service officials, the most significant area of 
concern may be the condition of military airfields. Each of the 
military services has reported runway cracking so severe that the 
runways were judged unusable. Deterioration of this kind was even 
identified in airfields used for operations during Enduring Freedom. 
For example, runway cracks at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, were 
so extensive that several C-130 cargo planes and A-10 fighters heading 
for Afghanistan were diverted to other U.S. installations. Further, 
Navy facilities officials told us that infrastructure deterioration is 
so significant that it has adverse impacts on the service's ability to 
perform required maintenance on its equipment. For example, they said 
that parts of the ceiling of an aircraft hanger located at North Island 
Naval Air Station, California, had crumbled as a result of corrosion. 
Because of the safety hazard and potential damage to aircraft, the 
hanger had to be closed down for several months for repairs and the 
aircraft relocated to other storage facilities. Corrosion of facilities 
and the impacts on readiness go well beyond problems experienced at 
airfields and hangars. The Pacific Air Force Command cited corrosion as 
the cause of failures of numerous critical infrastructure, including 
aircraft refueling, fire protection, electrical, and command and 
control facilities. The Command noted that this kind of deterioration 
can significantly impact its ability to perform its mission.

Corrosion Poses Numerous Safety Risks:

Corrosion also poses numerous safety risks and is a source of major 
concern to all military services. This concern is particularly acute 
when associated with the safety of military aircraft. According to an 
Army study, from 1989 through 2000 the Army experienced 46 mishaps, 
9 fatalities, and 13 injuries directly related to corrosion. During 
calendar year 2001, the Army issued four Safety of Flight messages for 
its rotary wing systems due to corrosion-related material deficiencies 
that adversely affected 2,100, or over 88 percent, of its force 
modernization helicopters. As recently as March 2002, the Navy 
suspended carrier operations for F-14 aircraft when one aircraft 
crashed because its landing gear collapsed due to corrosion. Just 2 
years earlier, the Navy had identified corrosion as the cause of a 
landing gear failure on a F-18 that occurred during carrier operations. 
Despite regular inspections, stress cracking in the landing gear evaded 
detection, and the problem was not revealed until after the accident 
when the equipment was examined under an electron microscope. Perhaps 
even more difficult to detect, but nevertheless just as significant, 
are the safety risks corrosion presents on F-16 avionics connectors. 
This aircraft has sophisticated electronics equipment that is housed in 
Line Replaceable Units. Although these containers provide considerable 
protection from the elements, they cannot entirely eliminate moisture 
from entering, and even microscopic amounts of moisture can cause 
catastrophic accidents. For example, during the 1980s, uncommanded fuel 
valve closures caused several F-16 aircraft crashes. The equipment 
failures were believed to be the result of corrosion on the 
avionics connectors.

Corrosion also poses major safety hazards at military facilities. 
Perhaps the greatest safety risk, according to facilities officials, is 
the cracking of concrete runways at airfields operated by all of the 
military services. (See fig. 5.):

Figure 5: Cracked Runway at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, California:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

One of the causes of this deterioration results from a corrosive 
chemical process called alkali-silica reaction, which occurs when 
alkalis react with water in ways that cause cracking, chipping, and 
expansion of concrete. As airfields continue to decay and crumble, more 
pieces of concrete are left on the runway, and these pieces have been 
absorbed by military aircraft and cited as the causes of innumerable 
aircraft safety incidents and accidents. Airfield cracking due to 
corrosion and the safety risk that it presents is so extensive that all 
the military services have experienced serious incidents resulting from 
this hazard. Examples of this kind of damage have been reported at Osan 
Air Base, Korea; Ft. Campbell Army Airfield, Kentucky; Naval Air 
Station Point Mugu, California; and Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, 
Japan. The foreign object debris hazard was so severe at the Little 
Rock Air Force Base that the Air Mobility Command assessed a taxiway as 
unsuitable for operations. At Naval Air Station Pensacola, several 
recent incidents were reported of Navy aircraft penetrating cracked 
airfield pavement and jeopardizing pilot safety.

Pipelines that contain natural gas and other kinds of fuel also pose a 
safety risk at military facilities. A majority of the pipelines are 
quite old and are constructed largely of metal that is susceptible to 
corrosion, which is the major cause of pipeline ruptures. Air Force 
facilities officials told us that some of the pipelines were installed 
as far back as the 1950s, and older pipelines pose an even greater 
hazard because they have a higher probability of rupturing from 
corrosion. The services are gradually replacing many of the metal 
pipelines with pipelines made of high-density polyethylene plastic 
and other materials that are more corrosion resistant. The use of 
cathodic protection devices also helps to prevent corrosion. Facilities 
officials told us that despite these measures and periodic inspections, 
they have experienced numerous pipeline ruptures they attribute to 
corrosion. They said that until all of the existing pipelines are 
replaced, such ruptures will continue to be a source of major concern. 
However, replacing pipelines is very expensive, and facilities 
officials said that it would take many years to obtain enough funds to 
replace all of them. Facilities officials at Marine Corps Base Camp 
Pendleton, California, said that they have experienced several fuel 
line ruptures, many of them caused by corroded pipe valves. They said 
fuel lines that run alongside base housing pose the greatest safety 
concern, and they have begun to replace these lines first. Eventually 
they hope to replace all of them throughout the base.

Full Impact of Corrosion Unknown Due to Incomplete Cost, Readiness, and 
Safety Data:

For more than a decade, a number of DOD, military service, and 
private-sector studies have cited the lack of reliable data to 
adequately assess the overall impact of the corrosion problem. Studies 
done in 1996 and 2001 on DOD corrosion data collection and analysis 
found that, while individual services have attempted to quantify the 
cost of corrosion, neither the mechanisms nor the methodologies exist 
to accurately quantify the problem.[Footnote 11] A 2001 Army study 
found that no single data system provides aggregate corrosion data 
related to cost, maintenance, and readiness, and that the existence of 
many separate databases restrict the ability to collect standardized 
data reflecting consistent characteristics.[Footnote 12] The study, 
which focused on Army aviation, concluded that existing automated 
information systems do not provide decision makers with complete, 
accurate, or timely corrosion repair and replacement data. An Air Force 
study came to similar conclusions.[Footnote 13] Navy officials told us 
that information regarding the cost of corrosion is incomplete because 
these costs are difficult to isolate from overall maintenance costs. 
They said these data limitations make it difficult to determine the 
severity of the problems and to justify the funding needed to prevent 
corrosion problems in the future. Facilities officials at Marine Corps 
Base Camp Pendleton said that their databases do not specifically 
identify data as corrosion related. They told us they would prefer to 
have better data for making investment decisions but instead must rely 
primarily on information obtained from periodic and annual corrosion 
inspections.

We identified many examples of how the lack of reliable and complete 
information impeded the funding and progress of corrosion prevention 
projects. In addition, military officials at the unit level told us 
that they had trouble obtaining sufficient data and analysis to justify 
the cost effectiveness of prevention projects. They cited the lack of 
information as one of the main reasons why corrosion mitigation 
projects were not being funded. For example, Air Force officials told 
us that an aircraft rinsing facility at Hickam Air Force Base is no 
longer operable, and they need about $4 million for a new facility. 
They also said that although they do not have sufficient data to 
accurately estimate expected cost savings from reduced maintenance, 
they believe it would far exceed initial investment costs. They added 
that their inability to move forward stems largely from a lack of the 
data and analysis needed to justify the projects. The Marine Corps 
faced similar obstacles in justifying the installation of a helicopter 
rinsing facilities at Marine Corps Air Facility, Kaneohe Bay. (See 
fig. 6.):

Figure 6: Marine Corps Helicopter Rinsing Facility Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Officials told us that the corrosion maintenance costs they would avoid 
in the first year alone would exceed the total amount of funding needed 
to build an additional facility, but they do not have the data or 
resources to support the necessary analysis, and without it they cannot 
justify the project or obtain approval for the funds.

DOD and Services' Approach to Corrosion Control Is Not Effective 
but Has Achieved Some Successes:

While the military services have achieved some successes on individual 
corrosion prevention projects, significant weaknesses in their overall 
approach to corrosion control have decreased the effectiveness of their 
efforts. An important limitation is the lack of a strategic plan that 
includes long-term goals and outcome-based performance measures. In 
addition, coordination within and among the services is limited, and 
the priorities of organizations that plan corrosion prevention projects 
and those that implement and fund them are frequently in conflict. As a 
result, promising projects often fall far short of their potential, and 
many are never initiated at all.

Some Corrosion Prevention Improvements Are Being Introduced during and 
after Acquisition Production Process:

Major commands, program offices, and research and development 
centers servicewide have made and continue to make improvements 
in the methods and techniques for preventing corrosion. Corrosion 
prevention improvements can either be introduced during the design and 
production phases or some time after equipment is fielded. For example, 
durable coatings, composite materials, and cathodic protection are 
being incorporated to an increasing extent in the design and 
construction of military facilities and equipment to reduce corrosion-
related maintenance. Systems as diverse as the joint strike fighter, 
the DD-X destroyer, amphibious assault vehicles, and HMMWV trucks plan 
to use composite materials and advanced protective coatings to increase 
corrosion resistance. The military services estimate that as much as 25 
to 35 percent of corrosion costs can be eliminated by using these and 
other corrosion prevention efforts, which would amount to billions of 
dollars in potential savings each year. Our recent report on total 
ownership costs of military equipment discusses some of the approaches 
DOD is using to incorporate maintenance reduction techniques, including 
corrosion mitigation, into the design and development of new 
systems.[Footnote 14]

Regarding the maintenance of existing equipment and infrastructure, we 
have identified several examples of projects that show potential for a 
high return on investment and advances in the technologies of corrosion 
prevention but which have not, for various reasons, been fully 
implemented. For example, the Naval Sea Systems Command has developed 
durable coatings that increase the amount of corrosion protection for 
various kinds of tanks (such as fuel and ballast tanks) on Navy ships 
to 20 years instead of the 5 years formerly possible. The installation 
of the coatings started in fiscal year 1996. However, by the end of 
fiscal year 2002, the Navy had installed these coatings on less than 
7 percent of the tanks, for an estimated net savings of about 
$10 million a year. The tank preservation effort has not been widely 
implemented because, Navy officials told us, the fleet has other needs 
that have a higher priority. Navy officials told us they frequently 
have to defer the installation of the new coatings because of the 
limited availability of ships due to the increased pace of Fleet 
operations and more pressing maintenance requirements. As a result, the 
Navy estimates that it is about $161 million short of achieving the 
total annual net cost savings projected for this corrosion prevention 
effort. The Command has numerous other projects that have fallen short 
of their potential because the fleet had higher priorities. While these 
projects have total projected annual net savings of another 
$919 million, they have achieved about $33 million in yearly savings to 
date. Once implemented, the benefits of these efforts extend well 
beyond cost savings because they have the potential to significantly 
reduce ship maintenance, thereby increasing the availability of ships 
for operations.

The Army National Guard's Controlled Humidity Preservation project 
represents another example of a high potential savings effort that has 
not been fully realized. Under this project, dehumidified air is pumped 
into buildings or equipment to reduce the rate of corrosion. (See 
fig. 7.):

Figure 7: Army National Guard Controlled Humidity Preservation:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Project officials claimed net savings of $225 million through the end 
of fiscal year 2002. While officials state the project has proven to be 
a success so far, they now estimate that it will take about 15 years to 
achieve the total projected savings, or 5 years longer than originally 
planned. Army National Guard officials told us they could achieve 
greater savings if they receive additional funding earlier than is 
currently planned.

The Air Force's bomb metalization project is also not achieving its 
full cost savings potential. According to an Air Force study, treating 
cast iron, general-purpose bombs with a special protective metallic 
spray coating would save the Air Force at least $30 million in 
maintenance costs over 30 years, although one study estimated the 
savings to be as much as $100 million. The Air Force stores about 
450,000 of this type of bomb in locations throughout the world. Air 
Force officials told us that the total investment costs for the project 
are about $5 million, which, based on the higher cost savings estimate, 
translates into a return on investment ratio of 20 to 1. After several 
years of planning and implementation, about 15,000 bombs, or 3 percent, 
have received the treatment.

Appendix II provides more detailed information about these and other 
examples of projects that are not reaching their full potential.

Strategic Plan Lacking for DOD and Service Corrosion Efforts:

DOD does not currently have a strategic plan for corrosion prevention 
and mitigation, and the services either have not developed such plans 
or have not implemented them.

However, DOD is required within 1 year of enactment of the 
Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 
(i.e., by December 2, 2003) to submit to Congress a report setting 
forth its long-term strategy to reduce corrosion and the effects of 
corrosion on military equipment and infrastructure.[Footnote 15] The 
act requires DOD include in its long-term strategy performance measures 
and milestones for reducing corrosion that are compatible with the 
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA).[Footnote 16] 
GPRA offers a model for developing an effective management framework to 
improve the likelihood of successfully implementing initiatives and 
assessing results. Under GPRA, agencies at all levels are required to 
set strategic goals, measure performance, identify levels of resources 
needed, and report on the degree to which goals have been met. Without 
implementing these critical performance-measuring elements, management 
is unable to identify and prioritize projects systematically, allocate 
resources effectively, and determine which projects have been 
successful. As a result, managers are not in a position to make sound 
investment decisions on proposed corrosion control projects.

The military services either have not established effective strategic 
plans that include goals, objectives, and performance measuring 
systems[Footnote 17] or they have not implemented them. The limitations 
to the military services' efforts to establish strategic plans are as 
follows:

* The Army created a comprehensive corrosion control program plan--
including goals, objectives, and performance measures--but the plan was 
never fully implemented.[Footnote 18] As part of the plan, the Army 
defined specific performance measures to track the progress of 
corrosion mitigation efforts, but these were not put into effect. The 
strategy called for the creation of panels comprised of top government 
and industry corrosion experts who would use performance metrics to 
evaluate proposed and ongoing projects against approved goals and 
objectives. However, the panels were never established and the metrics 
were not implemented. Army corrosion control officials told us that 
they have very little performance data, such as return on investment or 
annual savings, for any of their corrosion control initiatives. 
Officials at the Army Center for Economic Analysis told us they have 
not measured performance for the purpose of determining the return on 
investment for any corrosion control project for many years; the last 
performance evaluation was carried out in 1997.

* In 1998, the Air Force published a business plan for equipment 
corrosion control, but the plan was implemented for a short time and 
did not contain all of the elements of a strategic plan. For example, 
it identified three management goals,[Footnote 19] but did not include 
performance measures. Also, the Air Force Equipment Maintenance 
Instruction that identifies responsibilities for the Air Force 
Corrosion Prevention and Control Office does not identify goals or 
performance measures. Although an Air Force Instruction on Performance 
Management states that performance management, including goals and 
performance measures, is the Air Force's framework for a continual 
improvement system, officials told us that the business plan was no 
longer being used. They said that, in the past, there has been more 
emphasis on creating goals and monitoring performance, but because of 
limited resources, reductions in personnel, and increased optempo these 
activities are no longer performed.

* The Navy commands (Naval Air Systems Command and Naval Sea Systems 
Command) have engaged in some strategic planning for corrosion control, 
but the Navy does not have a servicewide strategic plan in this area, 
and its corrosion control offices lack the information and metrics 
needed to track progress. The Naval Air Systems Command planned to 
establish a corrosion control and prevention office but the plan--which 
included goals and objectives and outlined how progress would be 
measured--was never approved. The corrosion control and prevention 
activity at Naval Sea Systems Command is also not a formal program, and 
it lacks clearly defined overall goals and objectives. This office has 
identified cost avoidance projects and tracks the amount of 
savings achieved to date. However, more could be done to monitor 
performance. For example, there was no analysis of the reasons why 
specific projects were proceeding at a slow pace. Without this 
information, the office is not in a position to know what actions can 
be taken to improve the effectiveness of these projects.

* The Marine Corps has a corrosion control plan that includes long-
term, broadly stated goals but does not include measurable, outcome-
oriented objectives or performance measures. Marine Corps officials 
told us that they are in the process of revising the plan to include 
measures that will track progress toward achieving servicewide goals.

Corrosion control officials said they measure progress through a 
combination of field surveys, special corrosion assessments, and 
Integrated Product Teams.[Footnote 20] They also rely on the 
evaluations of operational and installation commands and program 
offices but readily acknowledge that this is not sufficient. They told 
us that they would prefer to have more systematic performance measures 
and that these tools would improve the success of individual projects 
and the corrosion effort as a whole.

Limited Coordination Within and Among the Services:

DOD has multiple corrosion control efforts--with different policies, 
procedures, and funding channels--that are not well coordinated with 
each other; as a result, opportunities for cost savings have been lost. 
DOD is in the process of establishing a central corrosion control 
office in response to the authorization act, but no single office 
exists within each of the military services to provide leadership and 
oversight for corrosion control of equipment and infrastructure. 
Although the services have attempted to establish central corrosion 
control offices, the responsibility largely falls on numerous commands, 
installations, and program offices to fund and implement projects. 
Military officials told us the offices were not fully established, 
primarily because of limited funding. The Army, for example, has 
established a central office for corrosion control of all service 
equipment; the chain of command for the Army corrosion office for 
facilities is separate from this office. Although a central office for 
equipment exists, each Army command also has separate corrosion control 
offices that are responsible for certain types of equipment--for 
example, tanks/automotive, aviation/missiles, armaments, and 
electronics. Further, individual weapon system program offices within 
each command may have their own corrosion control functions. In 
addition, installations implement their own corrosion control projects 
with the assistance of the Army Department of Public Works and the Army 
Corps of Engineers. The recently established Army Installation 
Management Agency provides overall management and funding for upkeep on 
Army installations.

The Navy and Air Force also have multiple corrosion prevention and 
mitigation offices. The Navy manages them through the materials offices 
within the Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Aviation Command. 
The Air Force Materiel Command manages the Air Force's efforts at an 
office located at Robins Air Force Base. Like the Army, these commands 
have multiple weapon systems program offices that also plan and 
implement corrosion projects. The Navy and Air Force also have separate 
organizations that are responsible for corrosion prevention and 
mitigation efforts related to infrastructure. The Naval Facilities 
Engineering Center at Port Hueneme, California, provides this service 
for both the Navy and Marine Corps and, in turn, relies on the 
individual installations to manage and implement their own efforts. The 
Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency provides this service for 
the Air Force.

This fragmentation of corrosion prevention efforts minimizes 
coordination and limits standardization within and among the services, 
as evidenced by the following examples:

* A June 2000 corrosion assessment of the Army's Pacific area of 
operations concluded that no standard corrosion control program, 
policy, or training exists for any Army commodity, which reduces the 
effectiveness of the Army's efforts to control corrosion on vehicles, 
tanks, and other equipment.

* Even when the services are in a severely corrosive environment 
in which they operate relatively near to one another, few formal 
mechanisms exist to facilitate the exchange of corrosion information. 
For example, in Hawaii Army officials for the Reserve and National 
Guard and active units stated that they had limited knowledge of one 
another's corrosion control activities or the activities of other 
services. Army officials told us they cannot afford to miss an 
opportunity to use the latest corrosion control products and practices, 
and it would be unfortunate to be deprived of any advances, especially 
if they are available and being used elsewhere. In addition, Air Force 
facilities officials in Hawaii told us that they are not aware of any 
formal process for sharing corrosion prevention and control information 
with other services.

* Officials at Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, an area 
of high humidity and salt, told us that temporary shelters can be a 
very cost-effective way to reduce the corrosion of equipment such as 
vehicles, transformers, and aviation ground equipment that are 
currently stored outside because of limited space. (See fig. 8.):

Figure 8: K-Span Shelter at Army Reserve Unit Fort Shafter, Hawaii:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

These officials were unable to acquire the shelters because they did 
not have the time or resources to undertake the analysis necessary to 
support the purchase. They were aware that temporary shelters are being 
used at other Marine Corps and Army installations, but they did not 
know how the installations acquired the shelters or justified their 
purchase. The officials suggested a standard mechanism for gathering 
and communicating the information necessary to justify purchase of 
the shelters.

* The Air Force conducted a series of multiyear studies that found that 
using inexpensive corrosion-inhibiting lubricants on aircraft 
electrical connectors has the potential to save hundreds of millions of 
dollars annually. (See fig. 9.):

Figure 9: Corroded Connectors on Air Force F-16 Main Fuel Shutoff 
Valve:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Air Force officials estimate that using corrosion-inhibiting lubricants 
could save more than $500 million annually on the F-16 fleet alone. 
Although the use of these lubricants is recommended in a joint 
technical manual on avionics corrosion control,[Footnote 21] their use 
is not required. The Air Force and Navy have developed different 
product specifications for the lubricants. The Navy's specification 
covers the lubricants' use on both metal surfaces and electrical 
connectors, and more than a dozen products have qualified for use under 
the specification. However, Air Force studies determined that while 
some of the products work well on electrical connectors, others are 
detrimental. As a result, the Air Force created a new specification for 
lubricant use, limiting it to electrical connectors. Air Force 
officials want the Navy to modify its specification so that only the 
appropriate products can qualify; otherwise, Air Force officials 
believe, those who refer to the joint manual containing both 
specifications could order a product detrimental to electronic systems. 
An Air Force contractor has drafted specification revisions for the 
Navy, but due to differing requirements and changes of personnel, the 
Navy has apparently decided to conduct further studies before revising 
its specifications. According to Air Force officials, these and other 
difficulties in coordinating with the Navy have prompted the Air Force 
to consider withdrawing from participation with the Navy in joint 
service manuals on corrosion control of aircraft and avionics.

* Army National Guard officials in Hawaii told us that they were not 
aware of the status of the Army's nearby corrosion inhibitor 
application center. (See fig. 10.) The facility currently has the 
capacity to apply corrosion inhibitors to about 6,000 vehicles per 
year. National Guard officials told us that they often store vehicles 
for long periods of time, and corrosion is always a problem. They 
indicated interest in finding out more about the Army's facility and 
any opportunities for participating with the Army if the corrosion 
inhibitors can reduce corrosion cost effectively.

Figure 10: Corrosion Inhibitor Application Facility at Army's Schofield 
Barracks, Hawaii:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

The services have created some valuable mechanisms, including 
special working groups[Footnote 22] and annual corrosion conferences, 
which make important contributions to corrosion prevention efforts and 
help facilitate intra-and inter-service coordination. However, these 
mechanisms do not represent a systematic approach to coordination. The 
effectiveness of these mechanisms is often dependent on the individual 
initiative of those who participate directly, as well as on the funds 
available to initiate corrosion-related activities. For example, each 
of the services hosts an annual corrosion conference, but individuals 
attend only to the extent that available time and travel funds allow. 
Furthermore, the dissemination of conference information relies to a 
large extent on attendees taking the initiative to use the information 
or communicate it to others. Limited follow-up is carried out to 
determine the extent to which this information is used in new 
applications. Several of the officers acting as corrosion coordinators 
in Hawaii indicated that their commands were often unable to allow them 
the time or travel funds to attend corrosion conferences. They added 
that some, but not all, of the conference papers and briefings were 
available to them.

Conflicting Incentives and Priorities Limit Corrosion Project 
Implementation:

Because of the differing priorities between short-term operational 
needs and long-term preventative maintenance needs, corrosion projects 
are often given a low priority.

Corrosion control offices act largely in an advisory role, providing 
guidance, information, and expertise on initiatives and practices. They 
have limited funding and authority, and they promote initiatives with 
benefits that may not become apparent until a project is far along in 
its implementation, which may be years in the future. These priorities 
and incentives are very different from and sometimes conflict with 
those held by the operational or installation commands and their 
subordinate units. While these commands also strive for better 
corrosion prevention, they place a greater emphasis on more immediate, 
short-term needs that are directly tied to current operations.

Because the corrosion control offices generally receive only limited 
start-up funding for corrosion prevention projects, they must rely 
heavily on operational commands and other program offices to provide 
the necessary resources and implementation. However, these commands 
often have limited resources beyond those needed to carry out their 
immediate mission objectives, and the military services have not 
established sufficient incentives for the commands (which have the 
approval and funding authority) to invest in the long-term, cumulative 
benefits of corrosion prevention and control efforts. As a result, many 
proposed corrosion control projects--even those with large cost saving 
potential and other benefits, such as increased readiness and enhanced 
safety--often remain underfunded because they are a low priority to the 
commands compared to operational and repair projects that offer more 
immediate results.

These conflicting incentives and priorities are demonstrated by the 
fact that the services have sacrificed the condition of their 
facilities and infrastructure by using base maintenance accounts, 
including funds for corrosion prevention and control, to pay for 
training and combat operations. We were told at many of the bases we 
visited that the problem with maintaining the infrastructure was that 
base commanders siphon off infrastructure maintenance and repair funds 
for other operational priorities. For example, at Fort Irwin we were 
told that only 40 percent of infrastructure requirements were funded 
and that most preventative maintenance is deferred. Officials at Marine 
Corps Base Camp Pendleton said that they have an infrastructure 
maintenance backlog totaling over $193 million and many of the projects 
are to repair facilities that have deteriorated due to corrosion. The 
backlog is not limited to this location, as the Navy reports an 
infrastructure backlog of $2 billion Navy-wide. Navy officials said 
they do not have accurate data but estimate that a large percentage of 
the deferred maintenance is corrosion related. Hickam Air Force Base 
facilities officials also told us that they often have to defer or 
reduce corrosion prevention projects because the base continually needs 
funds for higher priorities, usually those associated with operations. 
At the same time, the Army, in its 2002 Annual Report to Congress, 
stated that it cannot continue to fully fund its Combat Arms Training 
Strategy without further degrading its infrastructure and related 
activities. The Army recently established a new agency that centralizes 
all installation management activities to ensure that maintenance 
dollars, including those for corrosion control, are disbursed equitably 
and efficiently across installations. Officials of the new Installation 
Management Agency said that the goal of centralization is to halt the 
trend of major commands transferring funding from infrastructure 
maintenance accounts to pay for other operations.

The Navy's corrosion projects are similarly affected by a tendency to 
postpone maintenance projects to address more immediate demands. 
For example, the Navy's efforts to reduce corrosion on more than 
11,700 tanks on Navy ships are very time-consuming and expensive. 
(See app. II for more details of this case study.) To reduce costs, the 
Navy developed advanced coatings that are intended to last much longer, 
require less maintenance, and result in net savings of over 
$170 million annually. As of the end of fiscal year 2002, the Navy has 
only been able to install the new coatings on about 750 tanks, or less 
than 7 percent. Navy officials attribute the slow pace to the fact that 
shipyards place a higher priority on maintenance that requires 
immediate attention. These officials told us that the shipyards are 
hard-pressed to complete even necessary repairs and have little 
incentive to undertake prevention projects that will not show any 
benefits for many years.

Conflicting priorities are also evidenced by Navy and Marine Corps 
efforts to prevent the corrosion of underground pipelines. Navy 
officials informed us that pipeline corrosion is one of their major 
facilities maintenance concerns. According to these officials, many 
pipelines at multiple Navy installations are several decades old and 
made of metal that is highly susceptible to corrosion. (See fig. 11.):

Figure 11: Corrosion on High Temperature Pipelines at Air Force 
Tracking Facility Antigua, West Indies:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center officials told us that they 
do not have accurate data, but they estimate that several million 
dollars are being spent each year to fix leaks and ruptures that result 
from corrosion. They further stated that they could save significant 
maintenance costs if they were to aggressively start replacing existing 
pipelines with pipelines made of high-density polyethylene plastic and 
other nonmetallic material that is much more corrosion resistant. Naval 
facilities officials said that while this replacement project would be 
a big money-saver in the long run, the strategy would require a 
substantial investment, and they need to place a higher priority on 
fixing more immediate problems that disrupt or impair current 
operations. The Marine Corps is faced with similar conflicting 
pressures. At Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, officials told us 
that they have old and decaying pipelines and valves throughout the 
installation. To save significant repair costs, they would prefer to 
replace them with pipelines and valves made of high-density 
polyethylene plastic as quickly as possible. (See fig. 12.):

Figure 12: Corroded Air-Conditioning Valves at Quantico Marine Corps 
Base, Virginia:

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

However, the process is labor-intensive and, therefore, very expensive. 
They said that as a rule they must attend to more immediate problems, 
and only when resources permit are they able to invest in projects that 
have more long-term benefits.

Conclusion:

At present, DOD and the military services do not systematically assess 
proposals for corrosion control projects, related implementation 
issues, or the results of implemented projects, and they disseminate 
project results on a limited, ad hoc basis. Without a more systematic 
approach to corrosion problems, prevention efforts that have a high 
return on investment potential will likely continue to be 
underresourced and continue to proceed at a slow pace. As a result, DOD 
and the military services will continue to expend several billion 
dollars annually in avoidable costs and continue to incur a significant 
number of avoidable readiness and safety problems. Since corrosion that 
is left unmitigated only worsens with time, costs will likely increase 
as weapon systems and infrastructures age. Perhaps this is why the 
adage "pay now or pay more later" so appropriately describes the 
dilemma with which the military services are repeatedly confronted when 
making difficult investment decisions. The military services will 
continue to pay dearly for their limited corrosion prevention efforts 
and will be increasingly challenged to find the funds for ongoing 
operations, maintenance, and new systems acquisitions.

Recommendations for Executive Action:

In an effort to improve current military approaches to corrosion 
control, the Bob Stump Defense Authorization Act of 2003 requires the 
department to develop and implement a long-term strategy to mitigate 
the effects of corrosion in military equipment and infrastructure. If 
properly crafted, this strategy can become an important means of 
managing corrosion control efforts and addressing the problems and 
limitations of these efforts as described in this report.

To craft an effective strategy, we recommend that the Secretary of 
Defense direct that the department's strategic plan for corrosion 
prevention and mitigation include the following:

* develop standardized methodologies for collecting and analyzing 
corrosion cost, readiness, and safety data;

* develop clearly defined goals, outcome-oriented objectives, and 
performance measures that show progress toward achieving objectives 
(these measures should include such elements as the expected return on 
investment and realized net savings of prevention projects);

* identify the level of resources needed to accomplish goals 
and objectives;

* establish mechanisms to coordinate and oversee prevention and 
mitigation projects in an interservice and servicewide context.

To provide greater assurances that the department's strategic plan will 
be successfully implemented, we recommend that the secretaries of each 
of the services:

* develop servicewide strategic plans that are consistent with the 
goals, objectives, and measures in the departmentwide plan and:

* establish procedures and milestones to hold major commands and 
program offices that manage specific weapon systems and facilities 
accountable for achieving the strategic goals.

Agency Comments:

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with our 
recommendations. The comments are included in this report in 
appendix III. DOD also provided technical clarifications, which we 
incorporated as appropriate. In its technical comments, DOD did not 
concur with our finding that the department does not have an effective 
approach to prevent and mitigate corrosion. DOD noted that the 
department develops and incorporates prevention and mitigation 
strategies appropriate to DOD's national defense mission within various 
constraints associated with operational needs, affordable maintenance 
schedules, environmental regulations, and other statutory 
requirements. DOD noted that corrosion is one of many issues that must 
be managed and incorporated into an overall defense mission. DOD also 
noted that it continually endeavors to improve its ability to manage 
corrosion through advanced research, upgrading of systems and 
facilities, application of new materials, processes and products and 
continuous information sharing. Our report recognizes and mentions 
DOD's efforts and successes with corrosion mitigation. However, we 
believe that DOD lacks an effective approach to deal with corrosion 
since it lacks an overall strategy, has limited coordination within and 
among the services, and conflicting incentives and priorities. As we 
noted in our report, the current DOD approach has led to readiness and 
safety issues as well as billions of dollars of corrosion-related 
maintenance costs for DOD and the services annually.

:

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense; 
the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other interested 
congressional committees. We will also make copies available to others 
upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on 
the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

Please contact me on (202) 512-8365 if you or your staff have any 
questions concerning this report. Key contributors to this report were 
Allan Roberts, Allen Westheimer, Dorian Dunbar, Sarah Prehoda, Sandra 
Sokol, and Susan Woodward.

William M. Solis, 
Director 
Defense Capabilities and Management:

Signed by William M. Solis: 

[End of section]

Appendixes:

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology:

Our study focused on how the military services implement and manage 
corrosion prevention and control efforts for both equipment and 
infrastructure. To perform our review, we contacted corrosion control 
offices and officials in each of the four military services. We also 
reviewed studies and discussed military corrosion issues with experts 
within and outside the Department of Defense (DOD). To develop an 
in-depth understanding of how corrosion prevention projects are 
initiated and managed, we visited field installations and developed 
case studies on corrosion prevention and mitigation efforts. We also 
contacted and obtained information from DOD, services headquarters, 
materiel management, research and development, logistics, systems 
acquisitions, safety, and installation management and 
maintenance organizations.

To determine the extent of the military services' corrosion problems, 
we reviewed numerous studies and contacted experts in both government 
and private industry. We contacted and obtained information from 
DOD, military service headquarters, strategic planning, research and 
development, systems acquisitions, materiel management, logistics, 
safety, and installation management and maintenance organizations. 
We also attended the U.S. Navy and Industry Rust 2002 Corrosion 
Technology and Exchange Conference, and we reviewed papers and 
presentations of other service and private industry corrosion 
conferences and forums. In addition, we contacted private industry 
suppliers, consultants, and research organizations. We contacted the 
following research organizations to obtain information regarding the 
extent of military service corrosion problems:

* National Research Council:

* National Materials Advisory Board:

* NCI Information Systems, Inc.

* CC Technologies Laboratories, Inc.

* American Power Jet Company:

* Science Applications International Corporation:

* Battelle Laboratories:

* Calibre Systems, Inc.

* Sandia National Laboratories:

* Metals Information Analysis Center:

* Center for Army Analysis:

* Joint Council on Aging Aircraft:

* Services Command Corrosion Assessments and Surveys:

* Services Corrosion Prevention and Advisory Boards:

* Services Science and Technology Advisor Programs:

* Services Corrosion Conferences and Forums:

To determine the extent to which DOD and the military services have an 
effective approach to corrosion control, we interviewed officials and 
obtained documentation from the four military services' corrosion 
control program offices for equipment and infrastructure. For 
equipment, these included the Army Corrosion Prevention and Control 
Program, the Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Control Office, the 
NAVAIR and NAVSEA Corrosion Prevention and Control Programs, and the 
Marine Corps Corrosion and Prevention Program. For infrastructure we 
contacted the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Public Works, 
the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, and the Naval Facilities 
Engineering Service Center Command. We also contacted and obtained 
information from DOD, service headquarters, strategic planning, 
materiel command, and field command officials. We reviewed corrosion 
prevention and control plans, policies, procedures, instructions, 
regulations, studies, trip reports, memos, and other forms 
of documentation. We also visited selected military bases, where we 
held discussions with unit commanders, facilities engineering and 
maintenance officials, and users of DOD equipment such as aircraft, 
ships, tanks, trucks, and support equipment, including discussions with 
operators, logistics, and maintenance personnel. We interviewed 
officials and gathered data at the following installations in 
California and Hawaii:

California:

* Fort Irwin Army Base:

* Los Angeles Air Force Base:

* March Air Force Reserve Base:

* North Island Naval Air Station:

* Point Mugu Naval Air Station:

* Port Hueneme Naval Base:

* Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton:

* Marine Corps Air Station Miramar:

Hawaii:

* Fort Shafter Army Base:

* Schofield Barracks Army Base:

* Wheeler Army Air Field:

* Diamond Head Complex, Hawaii Army National Guard:

* Pearl City Unit Training and Equipment Site, Hawaii Army 
National Guard:

* Hickam Air Force Base:

* Pearl Harbor Naval Complex:

* Lualualei Naval Magazine:

* Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay:

* Marine Corps Camp H.M. Smith:

We conducted our review from August 2002 through April 2003 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

[End of section]

Appendix II: Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts That Have 
Not Realized Their Full Potential:

Durable Coatings for Tanks on Navy Ships:

The Navy has over 11,700 tanks, such as ballast, fuel, and potable 
water tanks, on all of its surface vessels and submarines. Because of 
their constant exposure to salt and moisture, these tanks rapidly lose 
their exterior and interior protective coatings and begin to corrode. 
Although maintenance personnel spend considerable time and resources 
removing as much of the visible corrosion as possible and repainting 
while the ship is deployed, some of the work cannot be accomplished 
until the ship returns to its home port and undergoes scheduled and 
unscheduled maintenance. Maintaining the tanks is labor intensive, 
costly, and extends the amount of time ships must spend undergoing 
maintenance, thereby reducing their operational availability. Naval Sea 
Systems Command has developed coating systems that are expected to last 
20 years instead of the 5 years that existing coatings last. According 
to the Navy, the effort could potentially save more than $170 million a 
year in maintenance costs. The initiative appears to be somewhat 
successful, because the Navy reports that it has achieved net savings 
of about $10 million a year. However, in the past several years, the 
Navy has installed the new coatings on only about 750 tanks, or less 
than 7 percent of the total. Navy officials attribute the slow pace to 
the fleet placing higher priorities on other needs, and explained that 
they often must defer the installation of the new coatings because of 
the limited availability of ships due to increased optempo and more 
pressing maintenance requirements. Navy officials added that because of 
higher operational and maintenance priorities, resources in the form of 
funding and manpower usually go to these needs instead of prevention 
efforts such as tank coatings. These officials told us that the 
shipyards that perform most of the maintenance for the fleet have 
difficulty trying to complete the work currently scheduled with 
available resources and would be further challenged by having to add 
the application of new coatings to their existing workload. In 
addition, the officials told us that there is limited incentive for 
shipyard maintenance workers to carry out preventive projects that show 
benefits only in later years instead of completing more immediate 
repairs that show more immediate benefits.

Army National Guard Controlled Humidity Preservation:

The Army National Guard maintains a wide range of equipment that 
includes M1 tanks, howitzers, air defense artillery systems, and 
radars. This equipment is susceptible to corrosion, and one of the 
primary causes of corrosion is humidity. The Army National Guard 
estimates it could achieve cost savings totaling more than $1.6 billion 
over 10 years by storing its equipment in short-and long-term 
controlled-humidity preservation centers. Depending on the type of 
equipment, some will be stored in long-term facilities and some will be 
stored for the short-term. Equipment that is not required for regular 
training use will be preserved in metal shelters for an average of 3 
years, while equipment for which there is a recurring need will be 
preserved by installing dehumidifying air ducts in crew compartments 
and other vehicle spaces. The project, which started in 1997, is 
expected to have a return on investment of over 9 to 1. According to 
Army National Guard officials, through the end of fiscal year 2002, the 
project has achieved a total of $225 million in cost savings. While 
Army officials state that the project has proven to be a success so 
far, they now estimate that it will take about 15 years to accomplish 
the total projected savings, or 5 years longer than originally planned. 
They attribute the delay to other needs being given a higher priority 
and, as a result, not receiving the necessary funds and having to defer 
the installation of some controlled-humidity centers. These officials 
still expect to acquire and install all of the facilities, but at a 
slower pace. They acknowledge that the delay will likely mean deferring 
a significant amount of cost savings--perhaps as much as $100 million-
-for several years.

Fly Ash in Concrete Airfields:

Concrete airfield pavements for all of the military services have 
experienced cracking and expansion that pose significant safety 
hazards, impair readiness, and increase maintenance costs. One of the 
causes of this deterioration results from a corrosive chemical reaction 
called alkali-silica reaction, which occurs when alkalis react with 
water in ways that cause cracking, chipping, and expansion of concrete. 
Examples of this kind of damage have been reported at facilities for 
all military services, such as Osan Air Base, Korea; Ft. Campbell Army 
Airfield, Kentucky; Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California; and 
Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan. The foreign object debris 
hazard caused by cracking and crumbling concrete was so severe that the 
Air Mobility Command assessed a taxiway at Little Rock Air Force Base 
as unsuitable for use. While the military services do not have cost 
estimates, DOD facilities officials told us that significant resources 
are spent each year on mitigating the effects of alkali-silica 
reaction.

The Navy determined that one way to mitigate the effects of alkali-
silica reaction in the future is to substitute fly ash for a certain 
amount of cement. According to a Navy study, the use of fly ash 
increases the strength and durability of cement structures such as 
airfields. Navy officials told us that this mitigation would increase 
the operational availability of airfields because the facilities would 
experience less cracking and chipping and, therefore, pose fewer 
foreign object debris hazards. While the Navy did not perform the 
analysis, these officials told us that perhaps the greatest benefit 
would be the savings that would result from a marked reduction 
in manpower needed for maintenance. The study did not include cost 
savings or a return on investment analysis because its focus was on the 
causes of and methods for mitigating the deterioration. The study did 
note that fly ash substitution could save the Navy about $4 million a 
year in construction costs because the material is less expensive than 
the kinds of cement currently being used. Navy officials told us that 
their understanding of the overall benefits is convincing enough that 
the use of fly ash is required for all Navy and Marine Corps 
construction projects that include pavements.

The Air Force recommends the use of fly ash, but only in certain 
circumstances. Air Force officials told us that requiring the use of 
fly ash for all construction projects is not feasible because fly ash 
is not available at all locations where the Air Force has facilities, 
and the additional cost and time involved in transporting the material 
to these places may be greater than the benefits from using it. 
However, Air Force officials acknowledge that they have not done a 
return-on-investment analysis that includes construction and 
maintenance costs, and additional information like this would be very 
useful in making decisions regarding the use of fly ash.

The services continue to study the effects of alkali-silica reaction 
and what to do about them. However, due to limited funding, efforts to 
identify feasible comprehensive solutions to the entire problem for all 
military services have been delayed. In the meantime, airfields 
continue to decay, resulting in high maintenance costs as well as 
restricted use.

Army Corrosion Inhibitors:

Corrosion damage to tactical wheeled vehicles and ground equipment is 
costly and prolongs equipment downtime. According to officials of the 
Army Materiel Command, seawater that seeps into the inner cavities of 
equipment that is being transported overseas causes serious corrosion 
damage and represents the highest risk to the command. The equipment 
then decays rapidly in humid environments.

This kind of corrosion damage was so extensive that in 1998 the 
Commanding General U.S. Army Pacific requested that all ground 
vehicles shipped to his command be treated with rust inhibitors. Army 
data indicated that 17 percent of the Army trucks in Hawaii were so 
corroded that performance of their missions was impaired. In 1999, the 
Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii indicated 
that unit readiness was in serious jeopardy and requested funding for 
several corrosion control projects, including one to treat an estimated 
3,000 remaining vehicles with corrosion inhibitors. Army testing had 
demonstrated that corrosion inhibitors, compared to other products, 
provided a high degree of corrosion protection and enough corrosion-
reducing potential to warrant beginning their limited use. Initial 
estimates indicated a return on investment of 4 to 1 for every dollar 
spent.

In 2000, the Army awarded a contract for approximately $400,000 to 
treat 3,000 vehicles over a period of 12 months. The contract was later 
doubled, increasing costs to nearly $900,000 for 6,000 vehicles over a 
period of 24 months. Army officials plan to analyze the information 
obtained on the performance of the product before deciding whether to 
continue using it or expand the effort to other locations. The Army has 
over 341,000 tactical vehicles and pieces of ground support equipment 
worldwide, as well as 3,770 airframes, and a significant amount of this 
equipment is exposed to harsh, corrosion-inducing environments.

The Army originally planned to establish an all-purpose, full service 
corrosion control center to repair corrosion damage, as well as provide 
preventative corrosion-inhibitor treatments. The center, which would 
have had multiple service bays and wash racks would have processed more 
than 15,000 vehicles per year, was to have been used by all the 
military services in Hawaii. However, the center is currently only 
being used by the Army as a corrosion-inhibitor application 
facility.[Footnote 23] In addition, a lack of coordination exists 
within the individual services. For example, at an Army National Guard 
facility in Hawaii officials told us that they were not aware of the 
status of the Army's corrosion-inhibitor application facility but that 
they would be interested in finding out more about it, the application 
of corrosion inhibitors, and participating in the project.

Air Force Bomb Metalization:

The Air Force stores about 450,000 cast iron general-purpose bombs 
in locations throughout the world. The bombs are estimated to have 
a replacement cost exceeding $1 billion. Many of the locations are in 
high-humidity environments that contribute to corrosion. As of 
February 2003, more than 107,000 of these bombs, or 24 percent, 
have been assessed as being no longer mission capable because of 
excessive corrosion. The Air Force acquires new bombs and repairs 
existing ones so that it will have enough mission-capable bombs to meet 
its requirements. The Air Force spends about $7 million a year for 
corrosion protection of cast iron general-purpose bombs. Until 1996, 
all the bombs were renovated by maintenance personnel who removed any 
signs of corrosion and recoated them with liquid paint. The bombs would 
undergo this labor-intensive process every 3 to 8 years. In 1996, the 
Air Force converted a bomb renovation plant at Kadena Air Base, Japan, 
from a facility that used liquid paint to one that used a metal wire 
arc spray technique that is otherwise known as metalization. The plant 
conversion cost about $3 million. A metal wire arc spray coating is 
expected to preserve cast iron bombs for 30 years, or about 25 years 
longer than liquid paint. By using this preservation method, the Air 
Force estimates saving maintenance costs of $30 to $100 million over 30 
years, resulting in a return on investment ratio of 20 to 1. The plant 
successfully renovated about 8,000 bombs. Based on previous successes, 
the Air Force decided to acquire and install mobile versions of the 
Kadena unit in other locations. In 2000, a prototype of the Mobile Bomb 
Renovation System was acquired and installed at Andersen Air Force 
Base, Guam, at a cost of about $2 million. About 500 bombs received the 
metal arc spray coating at Guam before the system experienced equipment 
failures. To date, the system remains inoperable. The Army has also 
refurbished and metalized about 6,500 bombs for the Air Force.

Air Force studies show that although the metal arch spray coating 
process is more expensive than the use of liquid paint, it greatly 
minimizes the risk that bombs will need costly maintenance or 
deteriorate so severely that they will need replacing. Despite these 
benefits, about 3 percent of Air Force bombs have been treated with 
this coating process. While Air Force officials recommended that a much 
higher percentage of bombs receive this treatment, they explained that 
their role is mostly advisory, and the Air Force Material Command and 
Pacific Air Force Command together must determine the relative 
importance of the project, given other competing priorities.

F-16 Aircraft Corrosion Inhibitors:

Although not visible, the corrosion of connectors on aircraft 
electronics equipment is prevalent throughout DOD and a significant 
safety risk for aircraft in all military services. The resources spent 
on this kind of corrosion are so vast that it is estimated that the Air 
Force spends perhaps as much as $500 million a year on corrosion 
control on the F-16 fleet alone. The costs are high because of the 
significant amount of labor that is involved in locating and 
eliminating the often microscopic sources of corrosion on very 
sophisticated avionics equipment. Avionics corrosion has been a topic 
of major interest to the Air Force for several decades. This concern 
was particularly heightened in 1989, when the Air Force reported 
several F-16 accidents caused by uncommanded fuel valve closures that 
were believed to have been caused by corrosion.

For several decades, the Air Force has conducted extensive studies on 
the corrosion of aircraft avionics connectors and what should be done 
about it. In the 1990s, several studies recommended the use of certain 
lubricants that have the potential of eliminating connector corrosion 
on F-16 aircraft, with estimated savings exceeding $500 million a year. 
Although the Air Force did not complete a return on investment 
analysis, the return would be very impressive, given the low cost of 
purchasing this off-the-shelf product. The Air Force has yet to take 
full advantage of these corrosion-inhibiting lubricants, even though 
they appear to be widely available. While the use of such lubricants is 
recommended in the joint service technical manual on avionics corrosion 
control, it is not required. We were told that the Air Force would need 
to amend in detail more than 200 specific technical orders and job 
guides to require the use of lubricant to protect F-16 aircraft 
electrical connectors, but progress in this area has been sluggish at 
best.[Footnote 24] For every year that the Air Force does not require 
the use of the lubricants, the service loses the opportunity to avoid 
annual expenses that total hundreds of millions of dollars.

Army Helicopter Rinse Facilities:

Conflicting incentives also impeded the Army's efforts to obtain modern 
helicopter rinse facilities called "birdbaths." According to the Army 
Aviation Corrosion Prevention and Control office, these facilities are 
expected to extend the life of costly aircraft components, reduce 
contractor man-hour expenditures, increase aircraft fleet readiness, 
and provide an added margin of crew safety. The project is estimated to 
cost $12 million for startup and $400 thousand per year in operating 
costs. Even more notable was the analysis showing a 31 to 1 return on 
investment, with the investment costs recouped within 2 years. Citing 
opportunities to implement and promote effective corrosion control, the 
Army recommended identification of locations and deployment areas for 
establishing birdbath rinse facilities. Despite the potential benefits, 
the project has not received funding to date. Army officials told us 
that the project cannot compete with efforts that have a higher 
priority, and they have deferred the request for funds until fiscal 
year 2005. The Army's attempt to obtain funding for a birdbath facility 
in Hawaii suffered the same fate. During our field visit to Hawaii, we 
were told that for a number of years a birdbath facility was included 
in a list of projects that required funding, but the facility never 
received the funds because other operational needs were considered to 
have a higher priority. Army officials said that funding more pressing 
operational needs almost always takes precedence over funding projects 
that have a strong potential to avoid future maintenance costs.

[End of section]

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Defense:

OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:

3000 DEFENSE PENTAGON WASHINGTON, DC 20301-3000:

ACQUISITION, TECHNOLOGY AND LOGISTICS:

Mr. William M. Solis Director:

US General Accounting Office Washington DC 20548:

June 11, 2003:

Dear Mr. Solis:

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the GAO draft 
report, GAO-03-753, "DEFENSE MANAGEMENT: Opportunities to reduce 
Corrosion Costs and Increase Readiness," dated May 9, 2003 (GAO Code 
350219GAO-03-753). The Department appreciates the opportunity to 
comment on the draft report.

The Department considers corrosion to be an important issue associated 
with cost, readiness, and safety of its weapons systems and facilities. 
As a result, the DoD and the Military Departments have in the past and 
will continue in the future to combat corrosion in its many:

forms and to focus on means to prevent and mitigate corrosion within 
its overall mission and obligations. We hope that the inclusion of GAO 
in the recent strategic planning activities related to corrosion has 
been beneficial to both of us in helping to place corrosion within our 
national security context.

The GAO report makes two broad "Recommendations for Executive Action," 
each of which contain several more specific recommendations. The 
Department concurs with the Recommendations for Executive Action in the 
report and is committed to meeting the requirements of Congress and, to 
the extent compatible with its core mission, the positive 
recommendations of the GAO report.

The Department offers specific comments and recommendations (enclosed) 
directed towards improving the accuracy and balance of the report. We 
believe we are insitutionalizing a cross-cutting DoD-wide corrosion 
mitigation and prevention control program for both facilities and 
equipment. We are prepared to discuss these comments with you in more 
detail should you desire. The undersigned may be considered the 
Department's primary point of contact.

Sincerely,


Daniel J. Dunmire:

Corrosion Policy and Oversight:

Signed by Daniel J. Dunmire:

Enclosure:


(350219):

FOOTNOTES

[1] Readiness is generally defined as a measure of the Department of 
Defense's ability to provide the capabilities needed to execute the 
mission specified in the National Military Strategy. At the unit level, 
readiness refers to the ability of units, such as Army divisions, Navy 
ships, and Air Force wings, to provide capabilities required of the 
combatant commands.

[2] P.L.107-314, section 1067.

[3] Cost estimates were not audited.

[4] Koch, Gerhardus H. et al., Corrosion Cost and Prevention Strategies 
in the United States, CC Technologies and NACE International in 
cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway 
Administration, Sept. 30, 2001.

[5] Corrosion in DOD Systems: Data Collection and Analysis (Phase I), 
Harold Mindlin et al.; Metals Information Analysis Center, February 
1996.

[6] For example, the average age of the Air Force aircraft fleet is 22 
years. By fiscal year 2020, the average age will increase to nearly 30 
years, with current programmed investments. This would translate to 60-
year-old tankers, 47-year-old reconnaissance/surveillance platforms, 
and 44-year-old bombers. (The B-52 would be nearly 60 years old.)

[7] U.S. General Accounting Office, Defense Infrastructure: Changes in 
Funding Priorities and Strategic Planning Needed to Improve the 
Condition of Military Facilities, GAO-03-274 (Washington, D.C.: 
February 2003).

[8] Corrosion Prevention for Wheeled Vehicles, DOD Inspector General 
Audit Report, Number 93-156, August 13, 1993.

[9] U.S. Army TACOM-ARDEC communication referenced in Corrosion Costs 
and Preventative Strategies in the United States, Gerhardus H. Koch, 
Ph.D., et al.; CC Technologies Laboratories, Inc., September 30, 2001.

[10] Cost of Corrosion: Final Report, prepared for Air Force Research 
Laboratory, NCI Systems, Inc., Fairborn, Ohio, March 26, 2003.

[11] Corrosion in DOD Systems: Data Collection and Analysis (Phase I), 
Harold Mindlin, et al.; Metals Information Analysis Center, February 
1996; and Corrosion Costs and Preventative Strategies in the United 
States, Gerhardus H. Koch, Ph.D. et al.; CC Technologies Laboratories, 
Inc., September 30, 2001.

[12] Aviation Systems Performance Readiness and Corrosion Study 
(ASPRCS), Ken Mitchell, Study Director, Center for Army Analysis, 2001.

[13] A Study to Determine the Annual Direct Cost of Corrosion 
Maintenance for Weapon Systems and Equipment in the United States Air 
Force, prepared for the Air Force Corrosion Program Office, NCI 
Information Systems, Inc., Fairborn, Ohio, February 6, 1998.

[14] U.S. General Accounting Office, Best Practices: Setting 
Requirements Differently Could Reduce Weapon Systems' Total Ownership 
Costs, GAO-03-57 (Washington, D.C.: February 2003).

[15] No later than 18 months after date of enactment of the act GAO is 
required to submit to Congress an assessment of the extent that DOD has 
implemented its long-term strategy to reduce corrosion.

[16] P.L. 103-62, Aug. 3, 1993.

[17] Performance measures can include such data as return on 
investment, frequency of required corrosion maintenance, equipment 
availability, readiness rates, and mean time between failures.

[18] The plan included three main objectives: decrease life-cycle costs 
by 40 percent, increase readiness by reducing downtime, and reduce the 
maintenance burden on diminishing active and reserve workforce 
resources.

[19] The goals are as follows: (1) identify, advance and apply emerging 
materials and processes to existing and future weapon systems; 
(2) identify current corrosion traits of weapon systems and logistics 
processes, and (3) maintain data and technical manuals related to 
corrosion control and provide expert consultation and technical support 
to field and depot activities.

[20] Integrated Product Teams are comprised of individuals representing 
a variety of competencies or disciplines such as material science, 
system engineering, logistics, and environmental management. These 
teams are assembled to take a multidisciplinary approach to finding 
solutions to routine and nonroutine maintenance and acquisition 
problems.

[21] Technical Manual Organizational/Unit and Intermediate 
Maintenance, Avionics Cleaning and Corrosion Control, NAVAIR 16-1-540, 
Air Force TO-1-1-689, Army TM-1-1500-343-23; September 1, 2000.

[22] Special working groups--within and across the services--have been 
established, such as the Joint Council for Aging Aircraft, Air Force 
Corrosion Prevention and Advisory Boards, and various Science and 
Technology Advisor programs. DOD has also established working groups 
such as the Maintenance Technology Senior Steering Group, Joint 
Technology Exchange Group, and the Joint Logistics Commanders to share 
information on acquisition and maintenance issues, including 
corrosion control.

[23] The services could not reach agreement on location, funding, and 
standard application procedures.

[24] The F-15 aircraft program has established a pilot program 
requiring use of corrosion inhibiting lubricants on electrical 
connectors during flightline depot maintenance by simply mandating the 
recommended use as stated in the joint service avionics technical 
manual.

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