Air Force Logistics:

Improvements Needed in Managing Items Critical to Combat Capability

NSIAD-86-100: Published: Jun 5, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 5, 1986.

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GAO reviewed the Air Force's Critical Item Program to determine whether it was: (1) identifying parts shortages that seriously impaired mission capability; (2) quickly restoring supplies of mission-essential parts; and (3) identifying underlying causes of shortages to prevent recurrences.

GAO found that operating bases report: (1) each instance when a mission-essential part fails and cannot be replaced from base stock; and (2) the number of hours between the time the base requisitions a part and the time it receives the part. If a part accumulates more than 1,000 requisition-hours in a month, the Air Force adds it to the program. Five air logistics centers (ALC) are primarily responsible for implementing the program. GAO also found that ALC did not: (1) follow prescribed procedures for including qualified items in the program; (2) timely take physical inventories to verify purchase requirements and available stock; (3) timely process procurement requests; (4) timely receive bases' failed parts for repairs; or (5) accurately identify and timely correct underlying causes of critical parts shortages. In addition, GAO found that ALC generally did not adequately: (1) follow up and correct program deficiencies identified by Air Force auditors; (2) enforce minimum standards for reviewing and documenting critical item shortages; or (3) award contracts within a reasonable time.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AFM 67-1 has been revised.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should clearly state in AFM 67-1 that identification and elimination of underlying causes of critical item shortages is a program objective and prescribe procedures and responsibilities for achieving this objective.

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

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AFM changes strengthen the responsibilities and junctions of the ALC Critical Item Review Committee to assign responsibility, establish target dates, and report on progress. Automation of processes, as well as other monitoring techniques, should ensure appropriate management review.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should enforce the ALC management review standards that provide direction and support to operating personnel responsible for timely remedial actions, and require complete documentation of directions given, actions taken, and results achieved.

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

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force Manual (AFM) was completely revised in June 1986 to better define ALC duties and responsibilities. The Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) Inspector General is to follow up.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure that ALC uniformly adhere to program entry criteria.

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

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force has taken actions to increase the program's priority and visability, including automation of certain functions to improve adherence to policies.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should direct that steps be taken to increase the Critical Item Program's priority and visibility.

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

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Effectiveness information is being provided by the following systems: (1) the Automated Critical Item Network; (2) the Get Well Assessment Module; and (3) Reliability and Maintainability Information System.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should develop the means of measuring program effectiveness and require AFLC and Air Force Headquarters to continuously assess program management's effectiveness.

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

 

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