Information Technology:

The Air Force Can Improve Its Maintenance Information Systems

GGD-83-20: Published: Jan 25, 1983. Publicly Released: Feb 25, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed certain maintenance activities at the Air Force to identify where information technology can benefit agencies in terms of economy and efficiency. The review suggested ways to improve Air Force maintenance information management, as well as the Air Force information management program.

GAO found that the Air Force spends millions of dollars on data collection and reporting systems which have questionable value. GAO noted that recording errors have often resulted in inaccurate reports and figures from the Air Force's Maintenance Data Collection (MDC) system, and managers are often reluctant to use this system or the systems it supports because of the known inaccuracies. The data inaccuracies raise questions about the need for much of the maintenance data collected. The Air Force is testing an Automated Maintenance System (AMS) that has the potential to improve maintenance data collection and indications show that it will improve data accuracy and completeness. However, current plans by Air Force commands could result in unnecessary expenditures for separate AMS type computers. Despite these efforts, no significant improvements have been made to improve the maintenance data collection process. GAO concluded that the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 provides the framework for effectively managing information-related activities and, although the Air Force has begun to implement the act's objectives, more needs to be done.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The F-16 system will be eliminated when development of the core automated maintenance system is complete.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should determine whether a Phase IV compatible automated maintenance information system may eliminate the need for the F-16 Central Data System. This issue should be considered when deciding on future Central Data System support, expansion plans, and lease versus purchase of equipment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A core automated maintenance system was developed as a result of this analysis.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should determine maintenance information requirements for the different levels of command throughout the Air Force.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSD formed a steering group to analyze operating and support cost requirements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should reassess the requirements for an operating and support cost system and work with the Air Force to develop a system that will meet these requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) formed a steering group to analyze requirements for service operating and support costs systems.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should defer terminating the Maintenance Cost System until issues concerning data accuracy, productivity management, and Visibility and Management of Operating and Support Costs II system requirements are resolved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An economic analysis of a core automated maintenance system has been completed by the Air Force.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should identify the full costs and benefits of the AMS prototype and, if justified, develop automated maintenance information capabilities which would be compatible with standard Air Force base-level computer systems. This action would eliminate the need for stand-alone maintenance computer systems beyond Altus, Dover, and Travis Air Force Bases.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should develop uniform and cost-effective systems for collecting and processing accurate maintenance information needed to meet identified requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: New Air Force regulations for managing Air Force information systems and resource acquisition were issued.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should apply information resources management approaches to managing future information system development efforts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

 

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