Army Maintenance:

Strategy Needed to Integrate Military and Civilian Personnel Into Wartime Plans

NSIAD-93-95: Published: Apr 29, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 1993.

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GAO reviewed the effectiveness of the Army's general support (GS) maintenance strategy in meeting the expected support requirements of future conflicts.

GAO found that: (1) although civilians regularly perform GS maintenance in peacetime, the Army expects its maintenance units to perform maintenance services during wartime; (2) the Army's GS maintenance strategy is ineffective, since it does not reflect the changed threat environment, existing military maintenance capabilities, and maintenance practices used during past conflicts; (3) the Army does not sufficiently train its military maintenance units during peacetime to perform repairs on some equipment; (4) although the Army has attempted to improve its maintenance capability, it had difficulty providing adequate training for its reserve units, since they have limited training time and access to repair mission-essential equipment; (5) most military GS units performed nonmaintenance tasks during the Persian Gulf war due to changes in deployment plans and theater priorities; (6) civilians significantly contributed to successful equipment maintenance during the Persian Gulf war, but the Army had problems with some civilians because it did not adequately screen for medical, physical, and emotional problems and there was some confusion over leave permission; and (7) the Army needs to revise its maintenance strategy to determine in which conflict situations experienced civilian maintenance personnel can be useful and integrated with military maintenance units.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has recently completed a review of the practice of using civilians for maintaining equipment in various contingency scenarios. The results of the study provided a basis for establishing a logistical support activity, comprised primarily of civilians, for providing maintenance services for future scenarios.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should revise the existing GS maintenance strategy to reflect likely future conflicts, maintenance capabilities of military units, and the extent to which civilians are likely to be used in various scenarios. A revised strategy should consider, at a minimum: (1) the maintenance requirements for the various scenarios being discussed; and (2) the use of a mix of military and civilian maintenance resources to effectively meet those needs, where practical.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The issues addressed in this report have been superseded by similar issues that have been reported in a broader, DOD-wide context in GAO's report, "DOD Force Mix Issues: Greater Reliance on Civilians in Support Roles Could Provide Significant Benefits" (GAO/NSIAD-95-5, Oct. 19, 1994). The report addresses the need to include requirements for civilian employees and contractors in contingency planning processes to ensure that they will be fully prepared to deploy to future conflicts, when needed. Future followup efforts should be performed under this report.

    Recommendation: On the basis of a revised strategy, the Secretary of the Army should assign specific missions among available military and civilian maintenance resources and develop a training program that provides for the required peacetime training needed to achieve those missions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The issues addressed in this report have been superseded by similar issues that have been reported in a broader, DOD-wide context in GAO's report, "DOD Force Mix Issues: Greater Reliance on Civilians in Support Roles Could Provide Significant Benefits" (GAO/NSIAD-95-5, Oct. 19, 1994). The report addresses the need to include requirements for civilian employees and contractors in contingency planning processes to ensure that they will be fully prepared to deploy to future conflicts, when needed. Future followup efforts should be performed under this report.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should revise maintenance doctrine to recognize the potential use of civilians in various scenarios and develop, as necessary, mobilization plans for deploying civilians for future conflicts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to DOD, the Army continues to reduce the number of its maintenance units as DOD downsizes its forces. Through its Total Army Analysis process, the Army determines its minimum war-fighting requirements every 2 years. According to DOD, civilian usage will be factored into the next Total Army Analysis process.

    Recommendation: On the basis of a revised strategy, the Secretary of the Army should determine if reductions in the number of military maintenance units are warranted. Consideration should be given to retaining a minimum military capability to meet the needs of expected future conflicts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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