DOD Has Serious Problems With Care and Maintenance of Conventional Ammunition

PLRD-82-27: Published: Feb 9, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 9, 1982.

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GAO reviewed various aspects of the military services' care and maintenance programs for conventional ammunition to determine: (1) if there are problems with the storage, preservation, and renovation of conventional ammunition; (2) how significant the problems are; and (3) what the services are doing to correct the problems.

The military services are experiencing significant problems in the storage, maintenance, and renovation of ammunition. The Army has embarked on a concentrated program involving substantial funding to alleviate what it considers a serious backlog of ammunition needing renovation. However, GAO found that the Army's estimate of the seriousness of the problem is based on an undocumented assumption as to the types and quantities of ammunition needing attention. Further, the Army's inadequate maintenance and storage facilities are causing a serious backlog of ammunition in need of maintenance in Europe. The Army does not currently have sufficient storage facilities to provide adequate protection for ammunition needed to meet long-range requirements in Europe. Additionally, the Navy's ammunition accountability is inadequate and recorded data often cannot be relied on to depict the true quantity and condition of ammunition. The Navy does not have an effective quality assurance surveillance program for inspecting its ammunition in the Pacific. The Navy's interface with the single manager for conventional ammunition is a continuing problem in regard to ammunition accountability and performance of maintenance and renovation of ammunition stored in Army facilities. The Navy's funding for ammunition maintenance and renovation has not kept pace with requirements, resulting in backlogs of needed work. Finally, the Air Force's use of open storage at its depots in Europe has caused ammunition to deteriorate faster than needed maintenance can be performed.

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 Navy should reevaluate the policy of assigning personnel who lack sufficient ordnance training and expertise to ammunition storage operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  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 Navy should, as a minimum, consider funding adequate ammunition quality assurance training to ensure that basic storage and inventory procedures are complied with at all storage locations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  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 Navy should emphasize or revise its ammunition quality assurance surveillance program to provide adequate inspections of ammunition at storage locations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  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 Navy should determine the level of ammunition needing renovation and should support a budget program, over a predetermined number of years, to reduce the backlog.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  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 Army should closely monitor the acquisition of needed additional ammunition maintenance and storage capabilities in Europe and take action within the limits of available funds to avoid slippages.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army disagreed with the conclusions and recommendations and plans no specific action. GAO stands by its position, but does not believe further followup is worth the cost.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should determine and base future funding requests on the specific types and quantities of ammunition actually needing renovation, rather than basing long-range plans and budgets on an undocumented general assumption as to the condition of the ammunition in storage.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  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 the Air Force should closely monitor the acquisition of needed additional ammunition storage and maintenance capability in Europe and take action, within the limits of available funds, to avoid slippages which would result in continued deterioration of ammunition and further accumulation of maintenance backlogs.

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

 

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