Defense Inventory:

DOD Could Improve Total Asset Visibility Initiative With Results Act Framework

NSIAD-99-40: Published: Apr 12, 1999. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 1999.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

David R. Warren
(202) 512-8412
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) implementation of its Total Asset Visibility (TAV) initiative, focusing on: (1) the difficulty in determining the status of the initiative's implementation; (2) planning weaknesses that affect the initiative's implementation; and (3) strategies for addressing those weaknesses.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD lacks an adequate Departmentwide management framework for providing information to clearly determine the progress made in realizing TAV initiative goals; (2) while some component and theater-specific asset tracking capabilities are reported to be operating, Departmentwide information on progress in achieving TAV initiative goals is minimal; (3) although implementing improved asset visibility is a high-priority objective, DOD cannot clearly understand the extent to which it is achieving the objectives of having timely, accurate information on requisitions and assets and access to DOD assets; (4) along with the unclear picture of the initiative's status, planning is inadequate at the strategic and implementation levels; (5) DOD does not have a Departmentwide TAV strategic plan to show how the various TAV initiatives contribute to DOD's goals for the initiative; (6) additionally, while DOD has an implementation plan, the plan has a number of key weaknesses; (7) it does not describe how TAV will be integrated into Department work processes to realize the goals set for the TAV initiative; (8) as a result, there is confusion over who is to use TAV and how it is to be used; (9) at some locations the system is being installed but not used, according to a component manager; (10) the plan also does not identify needed resources and does not address Departmentwide problems with systems that are critical to the successful implementation of the TAV initiative; (11) the initiative's implementation problems have largely resulted from long-standing management issues that have hindered other major management initiatives; (12) these issues include cultural resistance to change, service parochialism, the lack of outcome-oriented goals and performance measures, and the lack of management accountability; (13) resistance to changing from reliance on just-in-case inventory approaches to reliance on just-in-time inventory is a significant challenge for DOD in its approach to inventory management; and (14) this new way of doing business requires timely and accurate information about quantities and location of items and a willingness by the item holders to transfer them to meet the priority needs of others.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has taken preliminary steps to be fully responsive to this recommendation. DOD stated in the fiscal year 2000 DOD Logistics Strategic Plan, that it will determine user/business methods, asset information requirements, and associated measures by the end of fiscal year 2000.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that actions be taken to develop a Departmentwide TAV strategic plan and associated component implementation plans based on the outcome-oriented management principles embodied in the Results Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act; such plans must be agreed to and supported by relevant components. Specifically, all plans should establish outcome-oriented TAV initiative goals and performance measures for all relevant components and closely link the measures to improvement targets established in documents such as DOD's Logistics Strategic Plan and the Results Act Performance Plan in the Annual Report to the President and Congress.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has taken preliminary steps to be responsive to this recommendation. DOD stated in the fiscal year 2000 DOD Logistics Strategic Plan, that it will determine asset information requirements by the end of fiscal year 2000.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that actions be taken to develop a Departmentwide TAV strategic plan and associated component implementation plans based on the outcome-oriented management principles embodied in the Results Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act; such plans must be agreed to and supported by relevant components. Specifically, all plans should identify how Departmentwide systems issues that affect implementation of TAV will be addressed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has taken preliminary steps to be fully responsive to this recommendation. The fiscal year 2000 DOD Logistics Strategic Plan, includes a new goal where components determine how their business processes will be changed to use the TAV system by the end of fiscal year 2000.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that actions be taken to develop a Departmentwide TAV strategic plan and associated component implementation plans based on the outcome-oriented management principles embodied in the Results Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act; such plans must be agreed to and supported by relevant components. Specifically, all plans should describe how the initiative will be incorporated into DOD work processes in support of DOD's TAV performance goals and how appropriate training will be put in place to support the new work processes and the related cultural change that must be made to support Departmentwide asset sharing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD does not intend to respond to this recommendation. GAO continues to believe that, without such a plan, TAV will be sub-optimized, and there will be marginal movement toward DOD goals set for TAV on critical points such as asset visibility and transfer among components. GAO's concerns were supported in a May 14, 1999, DOD IG report describing inappropriate disposal and retention of assets that could have been distributed to other components through appropriate use of the TAV system.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that actions be taken to develop a Departmentwide TAV strategic plan and associated component implementation plans based on the outcome-oriented management principles embodied in the Government Performance and Results Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act; such plans must be agreed to and supported by relevant components. Specifically, all plans should describe a complete management structure and officials (including component officials) that will be accountable for ensuring the timely success of the TAV initiative.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD does not intend to take action on this recommendation. DOD has stated that it will not perform an investment analysis of funds being spent to support the Total Asset Visibility (TAV) system. GAO continues to believe that describing the costs and benefits of the investments in TAV initiatives would help focus the Department on the intended results to be realized by the program. During GAO's review, inadequate resource budgeting was cited as a major, constant impediment to realizing progress on the TAV initiative.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that actions be taken to develop a Departmentwide TAV strategic plan and associated component implementation plans based on the outcome-oriented management principles embodied in the Results Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act; such plans must be agreed to and supported by relevant components. Specifically, all plans should identify complete resource requirements for implementing the TAV initiative and include related investment analyses that show how the major information technology investments will support TAV initiative goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 24, 2014

Oct 20, 2014

Oct 9, 2014

Oct 8, 2014

Oct 2, 2014

Sep 30, 2014

Sep 26, 2014

Sep 25, 2014

Sep 19, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here