Air Force Maintenance:

Two Level Maintenance Program Assessment

NSIAD-96-86: Published: Mar 27, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 27, 1996.

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GAO reviewed the Air Force's implementation of the Two Level Maintenance (TLM) program, which is its plan to facilitate downsizing by transferring some repairs from many individual bases to centralized depots, focusing on whether the program: (1) has achieved the expected results; (2) has reduced repair turnaround time; and (3) will be an effective maintenance program for supporting deployed forces.

GAO found that; (1) the TLM program is not achieving the full extent of the intended benefits; (2) between the time of the Air Force's first cost and savings analysis in 1992 and the second analysis in 1993, the estimated costs to implement TLM had increased and the expected net savings had decreased--from $385 million to $258 million; (3) in addition, all program costs have not been included in the cost/savings analyses; (4) for avionics items, the repair turn around time under TLM generally met the Air Force's established repair turn around standard; (5) for engines, however, the repair turn around times are exceeding the standard by as many as 87 days; (6) for example, the repair turn around time standard for the TF30-111 engine, used on the F-111 aircraft, is 41 days, but as of August 1995, its average repair turn around time was 128 days; (7) the use of TLM to support deployed forces in times of conflict will add to the airlift burden; (8) because the deployed forces will not have in-country intermediate maintenance capability, the forces will be dependent on airlift for their spare and repair parts; (9) however, airlift priorities are controlled by the theater commander not the Air Force; (10) as a result, a theater commander could decide that the need for combat power in the early stages of the conflict has a higher priority than return of unserviceable items to depot repair facilities and movement of items from the depots to the theater of operation; and (11) the need for early sustainment airlift to support TLM is an issue that has not been fully resolved and is one that could affect sustainment of the deployed forces.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force, as part of a continuing maintenance effort, will review maintenance candidates to determine whether they should be part of TLM.

    Recommendation: In view of the unresolved TLM issues and the fact that the program has not fully achieved its intended objectives and has not been fully implemented, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to continue to periodically reassess the cost efficiency and effectiveness of items already in the program as well as those planned for the program to determine whether the avionics items and engines are the most appropriate TLM candidates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force does not believe there is a need to redo the cost/benefit analysis and does not plan to do so. It is unlikely that there is anything that will change its decision.

    Recommendation: To facilitate the reassessment, the Secretary of the Air Force should develop a revised cost and savings analysis that reflects the facilities and minor construction costs incurred to ready depots for TLM and the fact that the anticipated workload at the depots has not materialized.

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

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force, as part of a continuing maintenance effort, will review maintenance candidates to determine whether they should be part of TLM.

    Recommendation: To facilitate the reassessment, the Secretary of the Air Force should develop an assessment of the depots' ability to meet the repair turn around times prescribed by the Air Force standard when the current inventory of engines is reduced and TLM is fully implemented.

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

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This effort is part of an ongoing process.

    Recommendation: To facilitate the reassessment, the Secretary of the Air Force should develop an action plan, in concert with wartime theater commanders, that assesses the availability of airlift in the early stages of a conflict to fully support the added airlift requirements of TLM.

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

 

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