Afloat Prepositioning:

Not All Equipment Meets the Army's Readiness Goal

NSIAD-97-169: Published: Jul 23, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the readiness of the Army's war reserve equipment prepositioned afloat, focusing on the: (1) extent to which the brigade set of war reserve equipment, which is prepositioned on ships, meets the Army's readiness goal; and (2) status of the Army's efforts to establish facilities to maintain this brigade set of equipment and develop an information system that accurately measures and reports the readiness condition of war reserve equipment.

GAO noted that: (1) of the unit sets considered when reporting the readiness of the brigade set of war reserve equipment, about 25 percent do not meet the Army's readiness goal for full mission capability; (2) according to Army maintenance records, some equipment aboard prepositioning ships had been reported as non-mission capable since September 1995; (3) one factor that contributed to lower readiness rates was that some equipment was not fully mission capable when it was originally loaded on prepositioning ships; (4) other factors include the deterioration of the equipment while in storage aboard ships and the limited ability to conduct maintenance on the equipment while in storage; (5) the Army plans to repair equipment that does not meet readiness standards by conducting maintenance on prepositioning ships every 30 months; (6) in addition, Army doctrine calls for logistics support teams to perform maintenance on prepositioned war reserve equipment when it is downloaded before a deployment; (7) further, the Army is currently transferring equipment to prepositioning ships that have been designed to better control the humidity of the shipboard environment; (8) the Army has given priority to prepositioned ships in its plans to redistribute equipment from central Europe; (9) this should improve the readiness of those unit sets currently lacking equipment required for meeting the Army's readiness goal; (10) Army maintenance facilities in Charleston, South Carolina, were originally scheduled to be completed before October 1996, in time for the facilities to be used to conduct maintenance on the first full shipload of equipment prepositioned afloat; (11) however, contracts for development of the site and construction and renovation of buildings had not been completed, and the maintenance contractor had to continue to rely on temporary shelters and had to develop less efficient maintenance processes; (12) according to Army and contractor officials, the use of temporary facilities did not prevent the successful completion of the maintenance mission; (13) basic elements of the Army's automated inventory system for management of war reserves have been put in place, including maintenance and readiness reporting software modules; (14) as of July 1997, the Army was still developing and implementing its information system; and (15) proposed improvements to the system include linking the system database to existing Army maintenance management systems and incorporating a requisitioning capability.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: Because of the tendency for equipment to deteriorate while prepositioned aboard ships and the inherent limitations in the Army's ability to conduct maintenance aboard ships, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that unit sets of equipment that affect the readiness of the brigade set are filled to their authorized levels and that the equipment is maintained at the Army's Technical Manual -10/-20 standards before it is loaded onto prepositioning ships. These actions would increase the probability that the Army's goal of 90-percent full mission capability is achieved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on the draft of this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation. DOD stated that is improving the readiness of Army equipment prepositioned afloat. In NSIAD 99-6, GAO reported that the readiness of the afloat stocks is improving as equipment is offloaded and reloaded in fully mission capable condition.

    Recommendation: To improve the quality of Army equipment status reporting, the War Reserve Support Command, along with intended users of the Warfighter Equipment Status Reports, should establish more accurate designations for the status of non-mission capable equipment. These designations should differentiate among items that can be repaired aboard ship, items that are to be repaired by the logistics support team upon download before deployment, and items that may not be readily repaired and should be replaced.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: U.S. Army Materiel Command: War Reserve Support Command

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on the draft of this report, DOD concurred with this recommendation.

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