Army National Guard:

Sharing Unit Training Equipment Would Help Avoid Maintenance Costs

NSIAD-97-206: Published: Sep 29, 1997. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1997.

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GAO determined the: (1) feasibility of Army National Guard units that annually train at the same site to pool and share equipment; (2) maintenance costs that the Guard would avoid by pooling and sharing equipment; and (3) ways the Guard can maximize equipment sharing at annual training sites.

GAO found that: (1) according to GAO's analysis of nine equipment items with high annual scheduled maintenance costs and eight Guard units, it is feasible for units that annually train at the same site to pool and share equipment; (2) for the eight units GAO reviewed, more than enough equipment is already located at Mobilization and Training Equipment Sites to create a pool of equipment for unit training needs; (3) the equipment not needed for the pool could be preserved in a controlled humidity environment; (4) more equipment than the Guard's 25-percent goal can be preserved; (5) other than during the 2-week annual training period, the unit equipment located at some training sites is used little; (6) because units train at different times during the summer, this equipment could be made available to other units for use during their 2-week training period or put in preserved storage; (7) GAO's analysis showed that the Guard could avoid up to $10.3 million annually in maintenance costs if it preserved 25 percent of these items in a controlled humidity environment; (8) the Guard could avoid up to $20 million annually in maintenance costs if three units at one training site and two units at another training site pooled and shared their equipment and preserved their unused equipment; (9) the cost avoidance GAO identified is the minimum that the Guard can achieve because many equipment items other than the ones used in the GAO analysis could be pooled and shared; (10) additional maintenance costs could be avoided if other state and territorial Guard military commands pooled and shared training equipment; (11) changing the annual training site of as few as three units will maximize equipment sharing, cause more equipment to be available for preservation, and allow the Guard to more efficiently use scarce maintenance resources; (12) under this scenario, Guard units could place as much as 49 percent of their equipment in preserved storage and reduce maintenance costs by $38.1 million in the first year and $39.2 million each year thereafter, which is $18 million more than the $21.2 million cost avoidance using the Guard's 25-percent goal; and (13) although the Guard would incur additional facility costs to preserve more than 25 percent of its equipment, the benefits of avoiding annual maintenance costs for this equipment would more than offset the facility costs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army National Guard conducted a study to determine the best preservation techniques. Preliminary data results support the GAO recommendations. The Controlled Humidity Preservation Study results were provided to the Guard in September 1998. The results showed that the Guard can achieve cost benefits from the CHP program. To the extent that the Guard expands the use of CHP as a day-to-day way of doing business, it can achieve even greater cost avoidance. The Guard stated that as funding is available, it will provide and field CHP facilities at Guard Units in order to reduce O&M cost.

    Recommendation: To optimize the avoidance of annual equipment maintenance costs and achieve the resulting benefits of having a more effective maintenance workforce and increased equipment availability for mobilization, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Army National Guard Bureau to develop and implement a strategy, along with the modernization of Guard units, to provide controlled humidity facilities at the training sites that will achieve the greatest cost avoidance benefit.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army National Guard indicates that it shares equipment as a normal course of business. The Guard stated that the CHP study was not intended to evaluate various training or equipment rotation strategies. The Guard has shared equipment for use at Annual Training as a way of doing business. They currently practice the use of shared equipment and will continue this practice wherever feasible.

    Recommendation: To optimize the avoidance of annual equipment maintenance costs and achieve the resulting benefits of having a more effective maintenance workforce and increased equipment availability for mobilization, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Army National Guard Bureau to incorporate the concept of equipment sharing as the way of doing business in the Guard.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army National Guard does not support the concept of changing annual training sites due to increased travel time and transportation requirements. It would decrease available training time due to increased travel time to new training site.

    Recommendation: To optimize the avoidance of annual equipment maintenance costs and achieve the resulting benefits of having a more effective maintenance workforce and increased equipment availability for mobilization, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Army National Guard Bureau to change the annual training locations of Guard units where feasible to achieve maximum cost avoidance benefits through greater equipment sharing while achieving training objectives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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