Determining Requirements for War Reserve Spares and Repair Parts:

Importance of the Wartime Planning Process

LCD-78-407A: Published: Jun 6, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1978.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Department of Defense (DOD) investments for aircraft logistics cost billions of dollars annually. Logistics support requires adequate numbers and various kinds of maintenance people, facilities, and spare and repair parts to keep aircraft operationally ready in peacetime and capable of meeting wartime needs. The Air Force's total war reserve requirement for secondary item spares and repair parts amounts to about $2.8 billion--$1.7 billion in assets and $1.1 billion to be funded by fiscal year 1983.

In order to determine war reserve parts requirements, proper planning, coordination, and analysis are needed. The Office of the Secretary of Defense needs better coordination within, between, and among the services. The Air Force needs better coordination of wartime planning within its own department, especially among and within the major commands. The Air Force has not conducted comprehensive studies to find out the true wartime capability of the C-5 or other aircraft. Wartime mission planning for noncombatant aircraft should also have more careful analysis. The Air Force has recently changed attrition rates for six tactical fighter aircraft, but overall attrition rates for the fighters seem to be too low based on experience in past wars.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should strengthen coordination of wartime planning activities and require the Air Force to: (1) reevaluate the ability of all aircraft to meet their wartime mission before committing money for reserve parts, training, and other logistics support items; (2) assess the impact of the reduced strategic airlift mission on other services which depend on certain aircraft to move combat equipment; (3) take steps to ensure that nonengaged aircraft have specific mission plans during wartime; (4) reevaluate the assumption that aircraft lost by attrition will be immediately replaced by nonengaged aircraft; (5) incorporate the new attrition rates for strategic airlift aircraft, reduce war reserve parts requirements for C-5s and C-141s accordingly, and reassess attrition rates for other combat aircraft; and (6) reassess the feasibility of modifying wartime requirements planning procedures using more realistic approaches for computing needs for war reserve parts and giving consideration to using sorties and type of mission as a basis for requirements. Congress should require the Air Force to submit detailed plans on future war reserve requests for strategic airlift.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Oct 27, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Oct 16, 2017

Oct 10, 2017

Oct 5, 2017

Sep 29, 2017

Sep 28, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here