Navy Maintenance:

Ship Maintenance Strategies Need Better Assessments

NSIAD-88-187: Published: Jun 14, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1988.

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GAO reviewed the Navy's revised ship maintenance strategies.

GAO found that the Navy: (1) scheduled fewer ship overhauls and performed shorter and more frequent depot-level repairs; (2) incurred $5.6 million in ship maintenance and modernization costs in fiscal year 1987; (3) lacked essential management features in its ship management program, such as evaluation criteria, a management information system, or documentation procedures for determining the strategies' effectiveness; and (4) responded primarily to unfunded maintenance requirements and budget cuts in initiating changes and did not support them with a detailed engineering analysis to determine the optimal frequency and level of repair. GAO believes that the Navy cannot reasonably predict the strategies' impact on its ships' material readiness, operational availability, and maintenance costs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Additional analyses to validate the basis of recommended maintenance strategy changes will be conducted where changes to current maintenance strategies are deemed necessary.

    Recommendation: So that data are available for an effective feedback loop, the Secretary of the Navy should perform detailed engineering analyses of optimum frequency and type of maintenance for all ships.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Technical and cost criteria for evaluating effects of changes in maintenance strategies were published in a NAVSEA technical manual entitled "Standard Maintenance Strategy Selection Methodology", dated November 16, 1990.

    Recommendation: So that data are available for an effective feedback loop, the Secretary of the Navy should establish criteria for evaluating the effects of changes in maintenance strategies and operating cycles.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: A new methodology has been piloted in examining the current maintenance strategy of one class of surface ships and will be developed and refined with application both to new ships and existing strategies for ships currently in service. The ability to compare cost benefits of this new methodology will take several years of operational history before a realistic comparison can be made.

    Recommendation: So that data are available for an effective feedback loop, the Secretary of the Navy should use the information to compare the costs and benefits of different maintenance strategies and provide managers with necessary data to make decisions on sustaining or modifying strategies in light of maintenance costs and operational availability of ships.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data needed to evaluate different maintenance strategies are available in the Visibility and Management of Support Costs database and the Ship Departure Report database.

    Recommendation: So that data are available for an effective feedback loop, the Secretary of the Navy should collect the data needed for evaluating different maintenance strategies in the management information systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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