DOD's Real Property Maintenance and Repair Backlog

LCD-79-314: Published: Aug 31, 1979. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1979.

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The first phase of a review on the Department of Defense's (DOD) backlog of real property maintenance and repair projects is addressed. The complete report will include a review of the historical development and recent trends in the backlog, management policies and philosophies, uniformity in application of policies and standards or criteria, reliability of cost estimating and accounting systems, and results of previous reviews and audits.

Despite the fact that DOD and the military services have refined the definition of "backlog;" spent billions of dollars to maintain and repair facilities; implemented numerous directives, instructions, and regulations; and received several congressional mandates to hold the line or reduce the backlog; they have not been able to slow its growth. Congress established a statutory floor of funds to be used only for the real property backlog and has also provided additional funds in an attempt to contain the backlog. However, DOD estimates that the services' backlog at the end of fiscal year 1980 will increase by an additional $131 million above 1978 levels. Causes of the growth in the backlog are fiscal constraints, inflation, increased emphasis on identifying the backlog, continued deterioration of previously identified deficiencies not corrected, and the DOD redefinition of the term. Furthermore, each service used a different method to determine what a manageable level should be. What each service identifies as backlog and what DOD reports to the Congress appears to differ from the uniform definition. Rather than continuing to manage the program as it has up to now, perhaps DOD should try a new approach. Further work is needed and two key points to be addressed are the validity of the backlog and its reliability as an indicator for management's use in making decisions.

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