The Air Force Needs To Exercise More Control Over Equipment Authorizations

PLRD-82-100: Published: Jul 27, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the Air Force equipment management system to determine whether the Air Force's authorization process ensures that: (1) individual units are efficiently equipped; and (2) requirements used in the service's budget and procurement program are valid.

The effectiveness of the system is predicated on the establishment of authorizations only for equipment that is within designated allowances and supported by valid needs. The system relies on base supply offices to ensure that these conditions are met before authorization requests are approved. However, GAO found that supply offices are not adequately verifying that approved authorizations are justified. This is attributable, in part, to the shortages of supply personnel who are not only well trained in interpreting allowance tables, but who also have the experience and technical data needed to assess some of the more complex equipment requirements. Other contributing factors include the reluctance of the supply offices to assume the validation role and the fact that all major commands do not adequately ensure that the supply offices actually carry out their assigned tasks. Surveillance to ensure that authorizations are revised as requirements change is a key feature of the system. The Air Force has designed monitoring and feedback functions into the system, but efficiency measures and the failure of key participants to fully carry out assigned responsibilities have curtailed these functions. Cost-reduction efforts have reduced the number of surveys the Air Force performs to monitor equipment requirements. The system also requires that commands in the field provide the feedback needed to keep allowances current. However, the Air Force Logistics Command does not always receive the information it needs to decrease excessive allowances.

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 the Air Force should direct the major commands to increase onsite monitoring of equipment authorizations. Alternative means of increasing monitoring include surveys conducted by existing command management teams or designating the validation of authorizations as an item to be covered during other types of surveys, such as those conducted by the Air Force Audit Agency and the Inspector General offices.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  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 the Air Force should direct the appropriate commands to consider modifying the computer-edit capability to detect authorizations based on inappropriate allowance tables.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  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 the Air Force should direct the appropriate commands to provide the training, expertise, and technical data that base supply offices need to validate equipment authorization requests.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  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 the Air Force should direct the appropriate commands to provide the oversight needed to ensure that the validation role assigned to the supply offices is actually carried out.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  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 the Air Force should direct the major commands to ensure that base supply offices promptly revise equipment authorizations when allowances change and that the Air Force Logistics Command receives the feedback needed to keep allowances current.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

 

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