Realignment of Aircraft Maintenance Mission

PLRD-82-24: Published: Dec 22, 1981. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 1982.

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GAO was asked to reexamine the justification for the proposed realignment of the Army's aircraft maintenance mission from New Cumberland Army Depot to the Corpus Christi Army Depot in the light of the following developments: (1) the Army's personnel and dollar authorizations are no longer decreasing or projected to decrease, but are projected to increase; (2) the Army prefers to have two helicopter maintenance facilities despite economic considerations; (3) the CH-47 helicopter will still be used, and other helicopter procurements will increase substantially; and (4) the Army's 1977 economic cost study is no longer valid because the Navy no longer plans to leave Corpus Christi.

Operation and maintenance funding has increased. However, the increases in operation and maintenance funding are not large enough for much growth in the maintenance areas. GAO did not find that the Army actually preferred to maintain two maintenance facilities. The advantages of maintaining the two facilities were countered with the disadvantages of underutilization of both facilities and of continued use of a facility which was not designed for aircraft maintenance. The Army believes that it can handle the peacetime work load in one shift at Corpus Chirsti and its mobilization requirements within the depot's maximum capacity even considering the forecasted increases in the helicopter fleet. On the basis of its review, GAO believed that the Army's economic cost data were valid and current. An annual savings of about $13 million versus a one-time cost of over $3 million was estimated. There are currently no plans for the Navy, which provides basic services to the Army at Corpus Christi through an interservice support agreement, to abandon or close the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. Under the new consolidation, the Navy will not be required to provide extra services or new facilities. The consolidation of the Army's aircraft maintenance function at Corpus Christi is not expected to generate any new requests for military construction appropriations. The Army has decided to proceed with the consolidation of the maintenance function in stages. Some maintenance will remain at New Cumberland, but the transfer will eliminate 348 military and civilian positions there.

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