Air Force ADP:

Millions Can Be Saved If Automated Technical Order System Is Discontinued

IMTEC-90-72: Published: Aug 23, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the cost-effectiveness of the Air Force Logistics Command's (AFLC) Automated Technical Order System (ATOS), focusing on whether: (1) continued operation of ATOS would be cost-effective; and (2) further expenditures to enhance the system are warranted.

GAO found that: (1) using ATOS to revise technical orders was not cost-effective, since AFLC rarely used ATOS and the system was costly; (2) high ATOS operating costs were due to high hardware maintenance and operations personnel costs; (3) the Air Force used ATOS for 3 percent of its technical order revisions; (4) AFLC overestimated the number of technical order page revisions ATOS and contractors would make, primarily because it based the estimate on the number of revisions weapons systems contractors made, but such contractors worked with developing systems requiring excessive changes; (5) AFLC estimated that it would need to revise between 346,000 and 460,000 pages per year, but during 1989, it used only 59,407 of the 234,798 pages it revised; (6) ATOS cost AFLC about $5 million annually, over six times more than overflow contractors; (7) AFLC contended that ATOS would be more cost-effective as the number of technical orders revised increased, but to increase productivity AFLC would have to continue building the database and increase ATOS unit staffing; (8) AFLC estimated that ATOS database completion would cost $100 million, and requested $25 million annually; (9) AFLC further contended that the ATOS database could eventually be used for the Air Force Technical Order Management System (AFTOMS), but AFTOMS is still in its early concept development phase; and (10) AFLC expected that future data-entry technology advances could significantly reduce data-entry costs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense has realigned all of its Computer-Aided Acquisition Logistics (CALS) projects, including ATOS, as a result of its Corporate Information Management initiative. The Air Force plans no further action on ATOS as it will be subsumed by the larger Defense-wide CALS program.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should direct AFLC to discontinue using ATOS to revise technical orders and use contractors instead.

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

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Joint Uniform Services Technical Information System program, formerly AFTOMS, has recently been cancelled. Therefore, the recommendation no longer applies.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should direct AFLC to discontinue all efforts to build the ATOS database unless AFLC can justify ATOS as a part of the AFTOMS program by clearly demonstrating that it is the most feasible and cost-effective approach to building the AFTOMS database.

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

 

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