Operation Desert Storm:

Increased Work Loads at Army Depots Created Supply Backlogs

NSIAD-92-152: Published: Apr 10, 1992. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's New Cumberland and Red River Depots to determine: (1) whether their work loads increased during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; (2) whether their backlogs of received items and items to be shipped increased; (3) the cause of the backlogs; and (4) whether the Army learned any lessons that could be applied to improving logistics operations.

GAO found that, during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield: (1) New Cumberland's receiving work load increased 44 percent, its requisition processing work load increased 59 percent, and its shipping work load increased 25 percent; (2) Red River's receiving and requisition work loads increased slightly, and its shipping work load increased 121 percent; (3) New Cumberland's materiel receiving backlog increased from 0 to 49 days, and its shipping backlog increased from 0 to 5 days; (3) Red River's receiving backlog increased from 26 days to 38 days by October 1990 and then decreased to 15 days by February 1991, and its shipping backlog increased from 9 to 27 days; and (4) the increased backlogs were primarily due to reductions in force that occurred at the same time as work-load increases, automated storage and retrieval systems that were not operational and exceeded optimal storage capacity. GAO also found the Army's logistics report about the lessons learned during the conflict suggests way to address problems involving: (1) inadequate oversight of cargo; (2) inefficiency of manual processing of requisitions; (3) reduction-in-force actions; and (4) a lack of accountability over deployed materiel and equipment. GAO believes that, although the Army has suggested corrective actions, the Department of Defense will have to make a long-term commitment to fulfill those actions in order for them to be effective.

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