Air Force Organization:

More Assessment Needed Before Implementing Force Projection Composite Wings

NSIAD-93-44: Published: May 5, 1993. Publicly Released: May 5, 1993.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Richard Davis
(202) 512-3504
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Air Force's decision to implement force projection composite wings at three Air Force bases to determine whether these wings: (1) can achieve expected advantages; and (2) create adverse effects.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force did not conduct sufficient analyses before deciding to build force projection composite wings at three Air Force bases (AFB) in the United States; (2) the advantages attributed to force projection composite wings can be achieved without permanent collection of aircraft at AFB; (3) the Air Force has relied on analogies as justification for force projection composite wings, but the analogies do not support establishing the wings as permanent peacetime organizations; (4) the Air Force has not established clear criteria for the concept of force projection composite wings or for judging the validity of the concept; (5) the estimated construction cost for the wings is approximately $200 million; (6) force projection composite wings will have significant limitations, since they must be augmented by aircraft from other bases in order to perform peacetime and wartime tasks; (7) training facilities at Mountain Home and Pope AFB are too small to support force-level training; and (8) the Air Force might have avoided some implementation difficulties if it had evaluated alternative bases before determining the locations for the wings.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.

    Matter: If the Department of Defense determines that force projection composite wings should be implemented, Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Defense, before further action is taken to implement the wings, to direct the Secretary of the Air Force to examine the feasibility of retaining jammer aircraft at Mountain Home AFB as part of the air intervention wing instead of eventually collocating heavy conventional bombers with the wing.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.

    Matter: If the Department of Defense determines that force projection composite wings should be implemented, Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Defense, before further action is taken to implement the wings, to direct the Secretary of the Air Force to formally commit aircraft with scarce and critical capabilities to the force projection wings to ensure that these capabilities are readily available to train and deploy, if required, with the wings.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.

    Matter: Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Defense to direct the Secretary of the Air Force to take no further steps to implement the force projection composite wings until: (1) the benefits of wings planned for Mountain Home, Pope, and Moody AFB have been analyzed; and (2) the disruptive consequences have been resolved. Congress may also wish to require the Department to make the results of these analyses available to it for consideration during debate on any future budget requests or reprogramming actions related to the force projection composite wings.

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.

    Matter: If the Department of Defense determines that force projection composite wings should be implemented, Congress should consider directing the Secretary of Defense, before further action is taken to implement the wings, to direct the Secretary of the Air Force to assess other potential locations for the Pope AFB air/land wing to determine if the same degree of advantage can be achieved and to ensure that the Army and U.S. Special Operations Command concerns related to the air/land composite wing at Pope AFB have been resolved.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation is still valid; however, OSD retired the case on October 22, 1993, and does not plan any future action. Accordingly, the recommendation should be closed. GAO will look at this issue again in future work.

    Recommendation: The Air Force should compare the costs and benefits that would be achieved by integrating an enhanced, deployable wing command element into existing composite training with the benefits to be achieved by the force projection composite wings.

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

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation is still valid; however, OSD retired the case on October 22, 1993, and does not plan any future action. Accordingly, the recommendation should be closed. GAO will look at this issue again in future work.

    Recommendation: The Air Force should establish criteria for assessing the operations of the force projection wings and for evaluating the validity of the composite wing concept.

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

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here