Army Aviation Testing:

Need to Reassess Consolidation Plan

NSIAD-96-87: Published: Mar 15, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Secretary of the Army's tentative decision to move aviation testing activities now at Edwards Air Force Base, California, to Fort Rucker, Alabama, and retain Yuma Proving Ground.

GAO found that: (1) the Army failed to fully account for savings from consolidating its aviation testing activities; (2) consolidation at Fort Rucker and Yuma Proving Ground will result in the greatest short-term and significant long-term savings; (3) single-site consolidation at Yuma will result in the greatest long-term savings and an optimum testing environment for future testing; (4) the Department of Defense (DOD) and the services have not reached consensus about how best to consolidate and downsize test activities; (5) excess aviation testing capacity within DOD signals that consolidation is necessary to reduce this excess; and (6) the Secretary of Defense will need stronger commitment and leadership to evaluate whether these options or other options will serve DOD best.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While DOD concurred with the recommendation, it indicated that the reexamination would occur in concert with a proposed study on long-term consolidation and restructuring that is expected to be submitted to the Secretary of Defense for approval during fiscal year 1998. In the meantime, DOD is permitting the Army to go ahead with its planned consolidation of aviation testing at Fort Rucker.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in conjunction with the Test and Evaluation Executive Agent Board of Directors, should reexamine the Army's aviation consolidation plan within the context of its congressionally mandated plan for consolidating laboratories and test and evaluation facilities. Such a reexamination should include a timely determination of whether DOD could reduce excess testing capacity and achieve greater long-term savings defense-wide through consolidation of Army aviation testing on a cross-service basis and, if so, determining the appropriate locations and action plan for achieving such a consolidation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Joint Chiefs of Staff: Test and Evaluation Executive Agent Board of Directors

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While DOD concurred with the recommendation, it indicated that the reexamination would occur in concert with a proposed study on long-term consolidation and restructuring that is expected to be submitted to the Secretary of Defense for approval during fiscal year 1998. In the meantime, DOD is permitting the Army to go ahead with its planned consolidation of aviation testing at Fort Rucker.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in conjunction with the Test and Evaluation Executive Agent Board of Directors, should reexamine the Army's aviation consolidation plan within the context of its congressionally mandated plan for consolidating laboratories and test and evaluation facilities. Such a reexamination should include a timely determination of whether DOD could reduce excess testing capacity and achieve greater long-term savings defense-wide through consolidation of Army aviation testing on a cross-service basis and, if so, determining the appropriate locations and action plan for achieving such a consolidation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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