Logistics Planning for the M1 Tank:

Implications for Reduced Readiness and Increased Support Costs

PLRD-81-33: Published: Jul 1, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 1, 1981.

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Integrated logistics support (ILS) is the approach to weapons systems development which attempts to link development and production to deployment and operation. GAO examined the M1 tank ILS planning and strategies to: (1) identify options for improving the M1 ILS program, (2) determine whether the implementation of current planning strategies will provide adequate logistics support, and (3) evaluate alternative logistics strategies which could more economically provide effective logistics support. The review was undertaken in response to growing congressional concern over the support costs for weapon systems which have been drastically increasing while recently fielded systems are not achieving required operational readiness.

ILS has not been adequate or timely for the M1 tank program. Although recent planning efforts have improved, many supportability questions remain and opportunities exist to reduce M1 support costs. M1 program emphasis has been on achieving established design-to-cost objectives and fielding a tank within a 7-year development cycle. As a consequence of this program momentum, there was little early emphasis on logistical support and life-cycle cost issues. The ongoing DOD operational and developmental M1 testing is supposed to provide the data needed to answer questions on operational supportability. However, GAO believes that emerging results from current testing raise serious doubts that the M1 will be proven supportable before full production and fielding decisions are made. GAO is concerned that the past momentum of the M1 program will push the program forward even though many supportability issues remain. DOD believes that the M1 is supportable and that the current testing will provide adequate supportability information on which to base a sound full production and fielding decision in September 1981. GAO believes that improvements can be made in evaluating test data to measure supportability better and to provide better data on which to base upcoming production and fielding decisions. Also, information on the M1 supportability and the potential that insufficient data will be available to support the upcoming M1 program decisions should be made available to Congress.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to reevaluate M1 requirements for spare and repair parts and proposed delivery schedules based on a realistic assessment of current program data. The reevaluation should determine that sufficient, but not excessive, parts are provisioned in view of such factors as design maturity, the maintenance plan, failure rates of parts, and tank production schedules.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to conform M1 test sets and manuals with M1 hardware configurations and develop maximum tank standardization to mitigate the support problems inherent in multiple M1 configurations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to quantify and evaluate the potential impact, in terms of increased support costs, retrofit costs, reduced operational readiness capability, etc., of producing and fielding the M1 with currently demonstrated levels of reliability, availability, maintainability, and durability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should increase support for the M1 reliability and maintainability improvement programs, recognizing the potential to increase operational readiness and decrease future operational support costs through implementation of an effective life-cycle cost reduction program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to determine if M1 training devices can be used more effectively by, for example, using them more than 40 hours a week and/or consolidating them in nearby areas.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to increase support for the testing and evaluation of M1 test sets and technical manuals to develop them sufficiently to support maintenance activities in the field.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to reevaluate the number of training tanks used in the M60 program and projected for the M1 program or reallocate them to operational needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to conform M1 technical manuals to the skill performance aid standards and adequately validate them before fielding.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to expedite the development of in-house depot level capability for the M1.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the various DOD components to implement effective life-cycle cost reduction programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to implement M1 equipment design and logistics support alternatives, which could support readiness goals and reduce life-cycle costs. Evaluation of alternatives should include wiring harnesses, alternators, and other items discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  12. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The M1 has already been fielded; events have overtaken this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should quantify (in terms of increased maintenance costs and reduced operational readiness) the effects of fielding the M1 system at its current level of maturity or delaying the program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should provide information to key congressional committees on the M1 logistics burden.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to update M1 technical documentation to the most recent production tank configuration, making appropriate adjustments in documentation to reflect configuration deviations, and direct that changes to technical documentation, reflecting future tank modifications, are processed promptly.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to implement alternative procurement strategies, including phased provisioning, to ensure that future spare and repair parts are procured using the most cost-effective methods, consistent with the level of maturity of the tank and required technical data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to validate test set requirements to ensure that: (1) sufficient numbers of units will be available to support initial deployment without adversely affecting training and testing; and (2) long-term test set requirements are based on realistic factors (maintenance, staff-hours, etc.) and sufficient test sets will be available to provide operational readiness.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to increase support for the development, testing, and evaluation of M1 maintenance capability at all levels to identify deficiencies in the tank hardware or its support system which will result in increased maintenance cost or decreased operational readiness and initiate corrective action as required.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  18. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to direct that maintenance planning in future development programs be adequately done to minimize design-dictated maintenance, to ensure cost-effective field repair capability, and to provide timely transition from contractor depot support to in-house capability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  19. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to reevaluate current M1 program plans for increasing production capacity, monthly tank production goals, deployment to Europe, and acquisition of long lead production items and spare parts, considering the current level of design maturity of the tank and its support system, tank production, quality control problems, and other factors.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  20. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to establish additional criteria (at the system and subsystem levels) for evaluating tests that place greater emphasis on operational effectiveness measures and assessment of future support costs. This criteria should include goals and thresholds for logistics burden and operational availability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  21. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to make a configuration audit to identify incompatibilities between spares and tank production components and ensure that overhaul, retrofit, or other appropriate actions are taken, as needed, to provide conformance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  22. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Secretary of the Army to provide sufficient program resources, including a prototype vehicle, if needed, and direct increased management attention to the development of technical manuals and test equipment during prototype development in future programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  23. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should support the life-cycle cost reduction programs during future program and budget reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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