Depot Maintenance:

Actions Needed to Identify and Establish Core Capability at Military Depots

GAO-09-83: Published: May 14, 2009. Publicly Released: May 14, 2009.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Zina Dache Merritt
(202) 512-8365
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

The Department of Defense (DOD) is required, by law, to maintain a core logistics capability that is government owned and government operated to meet contingency and other emergency requirements. Military depots play a key role in maintaining this "core capability," although in recent years DOD has significantly increased its use of contractors. At the subcommittee's request, GAO examined the extent to which (1) DOD has accurately assessed whether it has the required core capabilities in military depots and (2) DOD is preparing to support future core requirements for new and modified systems. GAO reviewed DOD's biennial process for determining core capability requirements and the associated workloads for fielded systems. GAO also reviewed whether DOD had identified and established core capability in a timely manner for new and modified systems.

DOD, through its biennial core process, has not comprehensively and accurately assessed whether it has the required core capability to support fielded systems in military depots. Although DOD internally reported that its maintenance workload of 92.7 million hours in 2007 was "well over" the minimum of 70.5 million hours needed to fulfill core requirements at military depots and that the services were complying with their core capability requirements, this assessment did not show capability shortfalls identified by the services in their core computations. GAO's analysis of the services' 2007 core capabilities data determined that the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps had shortfalls for some equipment categories or technologies. For example, the Army identified core shortfalls of 1.4 million hours for 10 equipment categories. Several factors contributed to the deficiencies in the core process. Current guidance does not address how DOD is to consolidate the services' results into a meaningful department wide assessment. Also, there were errors and inconsistencies in the services' core calculations, making the full extent of the shortfalls unclear, and DOD also did not have effective internal controls in place to identify and resolve these errors and deficiencies. Further, DOD's core process does not have an effective mechanism for ensuring that corrective actions are taken to resolve shortfalls for fielded systems. As a result of shortcomings in the core process, DOD does not know the extent to which the military depots will have the capability to repair weapon systems to support future military operations. Finally, since DOD is not required to provide Congress information on its core process, the results of the process are not readily and routinely visible for purposes of congressional oversight. DOD is not adequately preparing military depots to support future core requirements through its acquisition process. Specifically, for the new and modified systems included in our review, the department had neither identified nor established core capabilities for certain systems in a timely manner. DOD acquisition guidance requires that an analysis of core requirements for new and modified systems be conducted early in the acquisition phase (no later than Milestone B or no later than Milestone C if there is no Milestone B). However, GAO found that program offices managing 20 of 52 systems we reviewed did not identify core requirements by Milestone C. DOD is also not establishing core capabilities for new and modified systems in a timely manner--that is, within 4 years of the system's achieving its initial operational capability, as required under DOD guidance. Shortcomings in the acquisition process include (1) acquisition guidance provides little or no information on how to identify and plan for the establishment of core capability, (2) program acquisition strategies do not fully address core requirements, and (3) some program offices are not procuring technical data necessary to establish a core capability. As a result, DOD has little assurance that the department is preparing military depots to meet future national defense contingencies.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-81, amended Section 2464 of Title 10 of the United States Code to require that the Secretary of Defense submit to Congress a biennial report identifying core depot-level maintenance capabilities and the workloads required to sustain those capabilities. The congressional report is required no later than April 1 on each even-numbered year detailing core capability requirements. In September 2012, the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology & Logistics) issued the first Biennial Core Report to Congress.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider requiring DOD to report on the status of its effort to maintain a core logistics capability consistent with Section 2464 of Title 10, U.S. Code. In doing so, Congress may wish to require that DOD report biennially on the results of its core determination process, actions taken to correct any identified shortfalls in core capability, and efforts to identify and establish core capability for new and modified systems in a timely manner, consistent with DOD guidance.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness tasked the services in an April 2012 memorandum to report core capability requirements by work breakdown structure. In the DOD's 2012 Biennial Core Report, the department reported the core capability requirements, planned organic workloads, and shortfalls by work breakdown structure.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to assess core logistics capabilities with respect to fielded systems and correct any identified shortfalls in core capability, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should require DOD to compile and report the services' core capability requirements, planned organic workloads, and any shortfalls by equipment/technology category (work breakdown structure).

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness tasked the services in a March 2010 memorandum to include all Joint Staff-tasked systems and software maintenance requirements as part of the core logistics capabilities. Also, the memorandum tasked the services to only consider organic (public) depot maintenance workloads when adjusting for redundant capability.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to assess core logistics capabilities with respect to fielded systems and correct any identified shortfalls in core capability, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should require DOD to implement internal controls to prevent errors and inconsistencies in the services' core calculations. At a minimum, internal controls should address errors and inconsistencies identified in our review on the need to include (1) all JCS-scenario-tasked systems, (2) software maintenance requirements, and (3) only public depot maintenance workload when adjusting for redundancy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness tasked the services in a March 2010 memorandum to use the tables from DOD Instruction 4151.20. The services were instructed to fully complete those tables in their entirety in their format and provide their responses in both Excel spreadsheet and hardcopy.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to assess core logistics capabilities with respect to fielded systems and correct any identified shortfalls in core capability, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should explicitly state the mathematical calculations, based on their core determination worksheets, which the services should use to determine core capability requirements, associated workload, and shortfalls, if any.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD included core sustaining workload shortfalls as a semi-annual agenda item for the Maintenance Executive Senior Steering Group.

    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to assess core logistics capabilities with respect to fielded systems and correct any identified shortfalls in core capability, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should require DOD to establish a mechanism to ensure that corrective actions are taken to resolve identified core shortfalls. For example, DOD should institute, in the alternative years of the biennial core process, a status report on the actions taken to resolve shortfalls identified in the previous year.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) Chapter 5 (6/2011) has been revised to emphasize the necessity of incorporating core planning early in the acquisition cycle. For example, the DAG section 5.2.1.1 (6/2011) states during the pre-system acquisition phase -when the capabilities and major constrains that frame the acquisition strategy and program structure for both the system and its support concept - the analysis should include core statutory requirements. Also, in the DAG section 5.2.1.3 - Key Depot Maintenance Analysis Elements - it provided guidance for program managers to determine the most effective levels of maintenance and sources based on material availability and cost factors. Core capability requirements should be part of this analysis to ensure that the maintenance source complies with the statutory requirement.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurance that program offices identify and establish core depot maintenance capabilities for new and modified systems in a timely manner, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should provide program managers with standard operating procedures for performing a core logistics analysis as required in DOD guidance. These standard operating procedures should also ensure that core requirements are considered in conjunction with other sustainment approaches.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has implemented the intent of the recommendation because the DOD Instruction 4151.20 and in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook include the 4-year time frame for establishing core capability from initial operational capability. DOD Instruction 5000.02 - Operation of the Defense Acquisition System - December 8, 2002, will be revised to correctly reference the necessity to conduct a core capability assessment and analysis in accordance with the provisions of DOD Directive 4151.18 and DOD Instruction 4151.20, which already incorporate the requirement for the 4-year timeframe for establishing core capability from initial operational capability. The Defense Acquisition Guidebook was updated to reflect this requirement.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurance that program offices identify and establish core depot maintenance capabilities for new and modified systems in a timely manner, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should modify DOD Instruction 5000.02 to incorporate the 4-year time frame for establishing core capability from initial operational capability, as currently required in DOD Directive 4151.18.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD Instruction 5000.02 - Operation of the Defense Acquisition System - December 8, 2008 was revised to reflect a requirement to document the results of the Core Logistics/Source of Repair Analysis prior to Milestone B (or prior to Milestone C if there is no Milestone B). The Defense Acquisition Guidebook (Section 5.2.1.3) was revised in 2010 to incorporate the 4-year timeframe for establishing core capability from initial operational capability.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurance that program offices identify and establish core depot maintenance capabilities for new and modified systems in a timely manner, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should require that the acquisition strategy for each new and modified system include either a statement that core capability requirements were not identified for the system or, if core requirements were identified, a plan for establishing core capability within 4 years of initial operational capability, including obtaining the required resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The June 2011 Defense Acquisition Guidebook states the identification of the need for a core determination will occur at least 180 days prior to the acquisition Milestone B decision need date. For systems entering the acquisition process after Milestone B, identification will occur immediately following the acquisition approval.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurance that program offices identify and establish core depot maintenance capabilities for new and modified systems in a timely manner, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics should require an initial core assessment early in the acquisition process (preferably prior to Milestone B).

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 19, 2014

Sep 18, 2014

Sep 10, 2014

Sep 9, 2014

Sep 8, 2014

Jul 31, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here