Warfighting Capability:

Some Army Tanks Should Be Transferred to the Marine Corps

NSIAD-94-93: Published: Mar 15, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 1994.

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GAO reviewed the Marine Corps' M1A1 tank requirement, focusing on: (1) the reasonableness of the requirement; and (2) whether the Army should transfer additional tanks to the Marine Corps free of charge to help it meet its requirement.

GAO found that: (1) the Corps reasonably established its requirement for 443 M1A1 tanks based on a force structure of two active tank battalions, three maritime prepositioning force squadrons, two reserve tank battalions, and tanks to sustain the fleet; (2) although the Corps' requirement is basically consistent with the force structure recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense's Bottom-Up Review, the Corps needs an additional 222 tanks to fulfill its requirement; (3) the Corps is not considering buying the additional tanks because of their prohibitive cost; (4) although the Army has agreed to transfer 50 tanks from its force to help the Corps satisfy its requirement, the Corps' efforts to obtain additional tanks have been unsuccessful; (5) the Army could enhance the overall readiness of U.S. forces and help the Corps fulfill its maritime prepositioning squadron requirements by transferring to the Marine Corps 84 of the approximately 1,500 M1A1 tanks destined to be transferred to Army National Guard units; (6) the Marine Corps' sustainment requirement for 40 additional tanks represents a higher-priority transfer than the National Guard transfer; and (7) Marine Corps squadrons would be available for deployment more rapidly than tanks in National Guard units.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FY 1995 Defense Authorization Act directs the transfer of 84 tanks from the Army to the Marine Corps as M1A1 tanks become excess to the active Army's inventory requirements.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the Army's transfers of M1A1 tanks best contribute to total military capability, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to transfer 84 M1A1 tanks to the Marine Corps to meet its maritime prepositioning squadrons tank requirement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FY 1995 Defense Authorization Act directs that the Army transfer the tanks to the Marine Corps. The transfer is under way.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should: (1) assess whether transferring an additional 40 tanks to satisfy the Marine Corps' sustainment requirement has a higher priority than providing those tanks to the National Guard; and (2) direct the Army to transfer an additional 40 tanks to the Marine Corps if the assessment shows that the Marine Corps has a higher priority than the Army National Guard requirement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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