Improving the Air Force Modification Process Will Benefit Management of Spare Parts in the Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency

PLRD-83-3: Published: Oct 15, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 1982.

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Air Force class IV and V modification programs are performed to correct deficiencies and improve capabilities of existing weapons systems and equipment. GAO reviewed the Air Force's modification coordination process to determine how effectively items affected by modification programs were managed.

GAO found that item managers are not routinely advised of modification programs that reduce or eliminate demand for their items. As a result, managers are spending millions of dollars purchasing and repairing unneeded items. In addition, Air Force managers are not effectively controlling critical items that could cause hazardous conditions if reinstalled on modified equipment. One of the principal reasons for the Air Force's longstanding problem in coordinating modification programs is the fragmented method by which the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) manages them. A number of different command groups have responsibility for issuing policy on modification coordination, but no single group is responsible for ensuring that policies are consistent, complete, and implemented. This practice has brought AFLC substantial criticism and has prevented AFLC-wide corrective actions. GAO also found that, in addition to affecting Air-Force-managed items, Air Force modification programs frequently involve removing and replacing items managed by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). However, Air Force policies do not require that DLA be notified and Air Force personnel are not doing so. GAO believes that the key to achieving a workable modification coordination process in the Air Force is increased emphasis at a sufficiently high level to ensure its success.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The first DOD attempt to implement this recommendation was unsuccessful. DOD subsequently included the modification coordination requirement in its approved Secondary Item Weapon System Management Concept.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Director, DLA, to: (1) establish internal procedures for coordinating modification data with DLA item managers; and (2) ensure that those procedures provide item managers with information concerning application of items they manage.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Warner-Robbins special coding technique, titled Mechanized Computation of Tailored Programs for Aircraft/Missiles Modification Items, was studied and implemented AFLC-wide in December 1983.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Secretary of the Air Force to direct AFLC to evaluate the special coding technique devised by the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center and, where appropriate, incorporate it into the AFLC standard modification coordination process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: By May 2, 1983, the services had implemented procedures and begun to coordinate modification data. Subsequently, a DLA-chaired study group found that coordination could not be effective within the framework of existing Department of Defense (DOD) logistics systems. DOD subsequently included the modification coordination requirement in its approved Secondary Item Weapon System Management Concept.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should emphasize the need for coordinating modification programs. The military services should be specifically required to routinely and systematically coordinate modification programs with DLA.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation was implemented in March 1983. AFLC established a training course on the modification coordination process.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Secretary of the Air Force to direct AFLC to give increased emphasis to achieving a workable modification coordination process, including establishment of a AFLC-wide training program on the process and provision of this course regularly to center item management personnel.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation was implemented on June 30, 1983. AFLC published Regulation 57-9 which addresses this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Secretary of the Air Force to direct AFLC to give increased emphasis to achieving a workable modification coordination process, including establishment of a quality control procedure that will provide regular feedback to the AFLC focal point on how effectively the centers are implementing the AFLC coordination process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation was implemented on June 20, 1983. AFLC published Regulation 57-9 which addressed this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should instruct the Secretary of the Air Force to direct AFLC to give increased emphasis to achieving a workable modification coordination process, including establishment of a standard modification coordination procedure for all air logistics centers to follow detailing specific responsibilities of center personnel, including responsibility for identifying and controlling consumable embedded items affected by modification programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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