Army Equipment:

Management of Weapon System and Equipment Modification Program Needs Improvement

NSIAD-98-14: Published: Oct 10, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 10, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Army's management of its modification work order (MWO) program, focusing on: (1) the availability of information needed by Army headquarters and field personnel to effectively oversee and manage the MWO program; (2) the availability of spare parts needed by personnel in the field to maintain modified equipment; and (3) field personnel's experiences in implementing the MWO program.

GAO noted that: (1) Army headquarters officials and Army Materiel Command officials no longer have the information they need to effectively oversee and manage the MWO program; (2) this occurred because the centralized database to track installation and funding was discontinued; control over modification installation funding was transferred from the headquarters level to individual program sponsors; and the authority over configuration control boards, which ensured the completeness and compliance of MWOs with policy, was transferred to individual program sponsors; (3) as a result, Army officials do not have an adequate overview of the status of equipment modifications across the force, funding requirements, logistical support requirements, and information needed for deployment decisions; (4) the lack of information is also a problem at field units; (5) maintenance personnel have not always known which modifications should have been made to equipment or which modifications have actually been made; (6) in addition, maintainers of equipment have not always received the technical information they need in a timely manner to properly maintain modified equipment; (7) maintenance personnel in the field have had difficulty obtaining spare parts to maintain modified equipment because program sponsors frequently had not ordered initial spare parts when they acquired modification kits; (8) Army officials believe these problems occurred because they lost oversight and control of the program and policies and procedures were not being consistently applied by the individual program sponsors; (9) because spare parts have often not been available, maintenance personnel have made additional efforts to maintain modified equipment; (10) supply system personnel have not always followed policies and procedures to ensure that supply system records were updated to show the addition of new spare parts and the deletion of replaced spare parts; (11) as a result, the Army's budget for spare parts may not reflect accurate requirements for new components to repair and maintain modified weapon systems and equipment; (12) maintenance personnel in the field have also experienced a variety of problems in implementing MWOs; (13) maintainers have not always received adequate notice of pending modifications, and training schedules and equipment maintenance have been adversely affected; (14) GAO was told that various items of equipment did not always work together once some modifications were made; and (15) according to Army officials, these problems also occurred because of their loss of oversight and control.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army is aware of the need for managers at all levels to have access to modification work order (MWO) information. The Army developed a Modification Management Information System. The Army has budgeted funds to manage the system and to link the MWO data system to the Army's financial system. The system is operational, and data on all new MWOs has been entered since July 1998. Full implementation is authorized by revised regulation AR750-10 which was issued in September 2000 and is available on the web at USAPA.ARMY.MIL under electronic publications for DADSLOB. A HQDA message was published in September 1999 which explained and implemented the information system. The implementation is complete and will receive continued policing of implementation as the MWOs have to be validated and coordinated in order to receive funding through the POM. DA officials believe that the new information system and the revised regulation will ensure adequate information and coordination for all new modification work orders.

    Recommendation: In considering the upcoming results of the MWO process action team, the Secretary of the Army should direct actions necessary to provide managers at all levels ready access to the information they need to oversee, manage, and implement the MWO program and to ensure compliance with Army policies and procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Army Regulation (AR) 750-10 was issued September 2000. The regulation requires that program sponsors and supply system personnel provide proper logistical support for modified equipment, including: (1) ordering appropriate spare parts when modification work order (MWO) kits are ordered; (2) updating technical information; and (3) properly phasing out old spare parts and adding new items to supply system. It also re-establishes a configuration control board and links approval of MWOs to the funding cycle.

    Recommendation: In considering the upcoming results of the MWO process action team, the Secretary of the Army should clarify regulations to ensure that program sponsors and supply system personnel provide proper logistical support for modified equipment, including: (1) ordering appropriate initial spare parts when MWO kits are ordered; (2) updating technical information and providing it to units when MWO kits are installed; and (3) properly phasing out old spare parts and adding new items to its supply system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The policies in the revised AR 750-10 address the coordination between program sponsors and other organizations to minimize the manpower requirements and ensure that, where possible, modification work orders (MWO) are applied to all units at one location at the same time. The MWO MIS now includes the data elements and access that program sponsors need to coordinate the installation of multiple MWOs to one system.

    Recommendation: In considering the upcoming results of the MWO process action team, the Secretary of the Army should establish an effective mechanism for program sponsors to coordinate and schedule their MWOs, among themselves and their customers, to reduce the amount of manpower and to minimize the reportable mission time required to complete the MWOs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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