Army Deployment:

Better Transportation Planning Is Needed

NSIAD-87-138: Published: Jun 18, 1987. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1987.

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GAO discussed the Army's ability to mobilize and move forces to ports of debarkation within the time frames of its operational plans, including: (1) the availability of the required transportation resources; and (2) the adequacy of unit and installation plans and preparations to use them.

GAO found that: (1) because the Army has not identified what equipment it needs to move to mobilization stations, identifying the number or types of transportation resources it needs is difficult; (2) mobilization station commanders and transportation operating agencies believe that the Computerized Movement Planning and Status System (COMPASS) is inaccurate and outdated; (3) the outloading capability of mobilization stations varies from the Military Traffic Management Command's (MTMC) requirements; (4) deterioration of rail lines impedes movement of units to and from mobilization stations; (5) the Army has not determined mobilization stations' out-load capacities and capabilities to receive, off-load, and return transportation resources; (6) the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) overstated its requirements for blocking, bracing, packing, crating, and tie-down (BBPCT) materials and warehouses by about $10 million; and (7) FORSCOM overstated its needs for railcar spanners, hand tool sets, and loading ramps by $5.5 million.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The microcomputer program to develop more refined BBPCT requirements was unsuccessful. The flatcar ratio for determination of BBPCT needs will be developed subsequent to MTMC update of the Defense Freight Railway Interchange Fleet study. FORSCOM Regulation 55-1 is being revised to provide guidance on percentage of flatcars needing BBPCT and the use of multilevel flatcars. Level of savings unknown.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct FORSCOM to reassess installations' needs for BBPCT materials and warehouses and retain the current hold on funds for these items until the reassessments are completed and existing stocks are redistributed in accordance with actual installation out-loading needs. Before further funding of BBPCT, FORSCOM should ensure that: (1) reassessments properly consider the percentage of the flatcar fleet requiring BBPCT and the use of multilevel flatcars; (2) mobilization stations are in compliance with regulations and policy regarding the development of BBPCT requirements and its use and storage; and (3) installations comply with requirements to conduct local BBPCT availability surveys and adjust BBPCT stocking requirements accordingly.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Joint Chiefs of Staff directed the services and the Defense Logistics Agency to develop commercial transportation requirements. Heavy lift rail requirements and heavy lift motor capability studies are supposed to be completed by MTMC in early 1990. The Defense Freight Railway Interchange Fleet study addressing rail requirements was completed in May 1989. All studies are now complete.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Commander, MTMC, in coordination with the Department of Transportation's Office of Emergency Transportation, to annually assess the availability of rail and truck resources for meeting the Army's deployment needs. This assessment should consider: (1) the Army's need for special types of railcars and trucks; (2) the out-loading capacity and capability of the mobilization stations; and (3) the capability of the ports of embarkation to receive, off-load, and return the transportation resources for reloading.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FORSCOM Regulation 55-1 is being changed to address this by clarifying mobilization station requirements and assigning responsibilities. FORSCOM plans to publish the revised Regulation 55-1 by early 1990. Action completed by issuance of FORSCOM Regulation 55-2 in November 1988 and FORSCOM Reg. 55-1 in March 1989.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct mobilization stations to develop plans for distributing BBPCT materials and equipment to the out-loading units.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: MTMC is developing a handbook for determining out-loading capability. Coordination increased with FORSCOM and other commands. An action plan is to be completed during FY 1989. Handbook TEA-55-18 was completed and issued in January 1989. Mobilization stations should now be in compliance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct FORSCOM and MTMC to compare the number of railcars and trucks planned for use by mobilization stations with the number expected by MTMC for each operation plan to ensure that any differences will not materially affect the out-loading capabilities of the mobilization stations or port-reception capabilities of the ports of embarkation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army is developing contingency standing route orders for all reserve and guard units by FY 1990. The Army goal is to semiannually validate carrier capability and provide data directly to installations. Standing route orders are now in place for virtually all units.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct mobilization station commanders to determine and document the amount and type of commercial transportation required to meet the most demanding requirements in the operation plans for which a mobilization station is tasked. The most demanding out-load requirements may vary from mobilization station to mobilization station depending on the transportation mode selected, installation out-load capabilities, proximity to port of embarkation, or other factors.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: COMPASS system redesign efforts have been initiated, as have courses and training for proper development of COMPASS data. Steps to verify compliance are to be developed by the end of fiscal year (FY) 1988. COMPASS coursework was developed as of May 1989. COMPASS improvement program will continue as needed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Commander, FORSCOM, in conjunction with the mobilization commanders, to ensure that the equipment requiring commercial transportation for movement to and from the mobilization stations be accurately reflected in COMPASS reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A FORSCOM study on tool sets, spanners, and end ramps has concluded. There is no current requirement for additional equipment or redistribution. It is unclear whether this action is fully responsive since it is dependent on other studies identifying flatcar availability. However, there is some question as to the adequacy of the FORSCOM study. Railcar outloading requirements may also change by 1992

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct FORSCOM to reduce planned funding levels for railcar spanners, rail hand tool sets, and portable end ramps by $5.5 million and place a hold on remaining funds intended for these items until FORSCOM completes its ongoing reassessment of need and redistributes existing stocks in accordance with installation outloading needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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