Army Maintenance:

General Support Maintenance Units Not Prepared to Perform Wartime Missions

NSIAD-89-183: Published: Jul 17, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1989.

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GAO evaluated the Army's general support maintenance activities to determine how well the Army was preparing general support units for their wartime missions.

GAO found that: (1) most Army general support maintenance units did not know what combat units they would be supporting or what equipment they would be expected to repair in wartime; (2) the Army had maintenance units working on older or outmoded equipment that it expected to replace with modern equipment; (3) some general support maintenance units were spending more than half their time on lower-level maintenance tasks, in violation of Army regulations; and (4) the Army did not have adequate systems to assess individual or unit proficiency in general support maintenance.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Army actions to comply with the recommendations are essentially complete. The Army is in the process of incorporating general-support-level maintenance tasks in its job books, soldier manuals, and self-development tests. Soldier evaluations are expected to begin in June 1993.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop methods for evaluating general support maintenance proficiency, including the: (1) testing of individual soldiers performing actual general-support-level repairs; and (2) addition of general-support-level maintenance tasks to soldier job books and soldier manuals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A message was issued to installation managers emphasizing the importance of having units spend more time on general support-level repairs. The Army has no further specific action planned to monitor compliance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should curtail non-maintenance activities that result in general support maintenance personnel spending less-than-acceptable amounts of time performing hands-on general support maintenance repairs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A message was issued to installation managers stating that increased emphasis should be placed on ensuring that general support-level training work loads would be accomplished. The Army has no further specific action planned to monitor compliance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should evaluate the practice of assigning extensive amounts of direct-support-level repairs to general support maintenance units, particularly units whose wartime missions require high levels of proficiency in general-support-level repairs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has no action planned to develop a mechanism to monitor the work loads assigned to its general support maintenance units. Work load assignments are the role of the installation commanders.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should reevaluate, as appropriate, the work loads assigned to civilian maintenance activities to ensure that general support maintenance units are not denied the opportunity to work on high-priority equipment that they will be required to repair in wartime.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A message was issued to installation maintenance managers emphasizing Army policy to create general support-level training for maintenance units. No further Army action is planned to monitor compliance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct installation maintenance managers to create opportunities for training general support maintenance units by assigning them general support tasks. As these units become proficient, assign them more of the higher-priority force modernization equipment they will be expected to repair in wartime.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army took partial action on the recommendation. That is, the U.S. Army, Europe, provided necessary guidance to its wartime units, but other theater commands have not. GAO has made a similar recommendation in a report on reserve general support maintenance units, NSIAD-91-219, July 19, 1991. GAO will conduct follow-up assessments under that report and code.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should provide adequate wartime mission guidance to general support maintenance unit commanders indicating the units and types of equipment they will be expected to support in wartime.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AR-220-1, Unit Status Report (USR), has been revised to instruct commanders to degrade ratings if their units were repairing equipment other than that required of wartime missions. According to the Army, USR will reflect the individual soldier testing and resultant proficiency in the development of the training portion of the USR.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should ensure that commanders, when developing unit status report ratings, consider the: (1) results of individual soldiers' proficiency testing; and (2) compatibility of equipment that units work on in peacetime with equipment they will be expected to work on in wartime.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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