Defense Logistics:

Strategic Planning Weaknesses Leave Economy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness of Future Support Systems at Risk

GAO-02-106: Published: Oct 11, 2001. Publicly Released: Oct 11, 2001.

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The Department of Defense's (DOD) Logistics Strategic Plan is not comprehensive enough and does not provide an adequate overall logistics strategy to effectively guide the defense components' logistics plans. The military services, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the U.S. Transportation Command each developed separate logistics transformation and other implementation plans to support the Department-wide Logistics Strategic Plan. However, these plans also have weaknesses and are not likely to improve the overall economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of logistics activities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its written comments to a draft of this report, dated September 20, 2001, the Department of Defense agreed with this recommendation. The Department specifically stated that it would develop a comprehensive Logistics Strategic Plan that incorporates GAO's recommendation, the results of the Quadrennial Defense Review, and the logistics requirements of the new National Defense Strategy. In April 2003, the Joint Logistics Board approved the Department's planning document "Future Logistics Environment (FLE)-The Way Ahead" (dated June 3, 2002). This document encompassed the specific requirements of the Logistics Strategic Plan and built upon 6 initiatives to meet the requirements of the Quadrennial Defense Review and the National Defense Strategy. The Board approved 5 implementation actions for Total Life Cycle System Management, 2 for Depot Maintenance Partnerships, and inherent in all 6 initiatives is the identification of logistics requirements and how those requirements would be fulfilled.

    Recommendation: To provide the military services, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the U.S. Transportation Command with a framework for developing a Department-wide approach to logistics reengineering, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should revise the Department-wide Logistics Strategic Plan to provide for an overarching logistics strategy that will guide the components' logistics planning efforts. Among other things, this logistics strategy should specify a comprehensive approach that addresses the logistics life-cycle process from acquisition through support and system disposal, including the manner in which logistics is to be considered in the system and equipment acquisition process and how key support activities such as procurement, transportation, storage, maintenance and disposal will be accomplished.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its written comments to a draft of this report, dated September 20, 2001, the Department of Defense agreed with this recommendation. The Department specifically stated that it will develop a comprehensive Logistics Strategic Plan that incorporates GAO's recommendation, the results of the Quadrennial Defense Review, and the logistics requirements of the new National Defense Strategy. In April 2003, the Joint Logistics Board approved the Department's planning document "Future Logistics Environment (FLE)-The Way Ahead" (dated June 3, 2002) that incorporated the specific requirements of the Logistics Strategic Plan. This document built on 6 initiatives to meet the requirements of the Quadrennial Defense Review and the National Defense Strategy. The Board approved 5 implementation actions for Total Life Cycle System Management, 2 for Depot Maintenance Partnerships, and inherent in all 6 initiatives is the identification of logistics requirements and how those requirements would be fulfilled.

    Recommendation: To provide the military services, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the U.S. Transportation Command with a framework for developing a Department-wide approach to logistics reengineering, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should revise the Department-wide Logistics Strategic Plan to provide for an overarching logistics strategy that will guide the components' logistics planning efforts. Among other things, this logistics strategy should identify the logistics requirements the Department of Defense (DOD) will have to fulfill, how it will be organized to fulfill these requirements, and who will be responsible for providing specific types of logistics facilities support.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its written comments to a draft of this report, dated September 20, 2001, the Department of Defense agreed with this recommendation. The Department specifically stated that it will develop a comprehensive Logistics Strategic Plan that incorporates GAO's recommendation, the results of the Quadrennial Defense Review, and the logistics requirements of the new National Defense Strategy. In April 2003, the Joint Logistics Board approved the Department's planning document "Future Logistics Environment (FLE)-The Way Ahead" (dated June 3, 2002) that encompassed the specific requirements of the Logistics Strategic Plan. This document built on 6 initiatives to meet the requirements of the Quadrennial Defense Review and the National Defense Strategy. The Board approved 5 implementation actions for Total Life Cycle System Management, 2 for Depot Maintenance Partnerships, and inherent in all 6 initiatives is the identification of logistics requirements and how those requirements would be fulfilled.

    Recommendation: To provide the military services, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the U.S. Transportation Command with a framework for developing a Department-wide approach to logistics reengineering, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should revise the Department-wide Logistics Strategic Plan to provide for an overarching logistics strategy that will guide the components' logistics planning efforts. Among other things, this logistics strategy should identify the numbers and types of logistics facilities and personnel the DOD will need to support future logistics requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD undertook a number of actions to implement this recommendation including requiring groups responsible for the 6 future logistics environment initiatives to develop metrics and having them approved by the Joint Logistics Board. On May 30, 2003 the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness released the first Future Logistics Enterprise annual report that summarized the progress made to move toward the required sustainment capabilities envisioned in the Quadrennial Defense Review. Also, as of August 2003, DOD was developing performance measures and specific milestones that would be briefed to the Joint Logistics Board for approval and component implementation. However, DOD reported that as of September 2003, a memorandum by the Secretary of Defense "Actions to Improve Logistics and Global Supply Chain Management" overtook ongoing strategic planning actions. This memorandum designated the USD (AT&L) as the Defense Logistics Executive (and the Chair of the Joint Logistics Board) and the CMDR, USTRANSCOM as the Distribution Process Owner. Implementing actions were underway and would address strategic planning issues.

    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should establish a mechanism for monitoring the extent to which the components are implementing the Department's Logistics Strategic Plan. Specifically, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should monitor the extent to which the components' implementation plans are (1) consistent with the Department-wide plan, (2) directly related to the Department-wide plan and to each other, and (3) contain appropriate key management elements, such as performance measures and specific milestones.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics

 

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