Coast Guard Cutters:

Actions Needed Now to Ensure Better Management of Parts and Supplies

RCED-95-62: Published: Jan 24, 1995. Publicly Released: Jan 24, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Coast Guard's inventory management system for its fleet of 240 cutters to identify any wasteful or inefficient practices that should be changed, focusing on: (1) whether the Coast Guard has the systems it needs to effectively manage its inventory of spare and repair parts and supplies; and (2) initiatives the Coast Guard has under way to improve its inventory management.

GAO found that: (1) the Coast Guard does not have the organizational structure or computer systems necessary to effectively manage its inventory for supporting cutters; (2) the Coast Guard does not know the value, type, quantity, and condition of many of the spare and repair parts in its inventory and cannot determine whether cutters have a shortage or an excess of parts, or whether the parts are readily available; (3) Coast Guard officials believe that the lack of inventory management information has not seriously affected the Coast Guard's ability to carry out its missions, although they acknowledge that it has resulted in costly purchases and excess inventory; (4) the Coast Guard plans to take actions to improve its inventory control problems by fiscal year 2002; and (5) some of the Coast Guard's initiatives are already behind schedule, delaying both its short-term actions and its long-term inventory management efforts.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As of December 2000, the Coast Guard had developed and installed CMplus (an integrated configuration-based supply and maintenance application) to its cutter fleet. In fiscal year 2002, the Coast Guard will complete testing of the centralized CMplus database and deploy it to over 400 shore units. At that time, the agency will also upgrade the cutter version and deploy it to over 200 cutters.

    Recommendation: To enable the Coast Guard to manage its cutter inventories more effectively between now and when the Logistics Master Plan is fully implemented, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Coast Guard Commandant to make the use of the current automated inventory control program mandatory on all cutters that have sufficient computer hardware and have not implemented CMplus, consolidate and analyze inventory data for each class, and redistribute excess parts from additional cutter classes as warranted.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Coast Guard, the concept of regional support centers with centralized oversight of shore-side inventory has been developed. The Coast Guard has consolidated shore-side inventory at three locations and has completely consolidated the inventories for the 110 foot cutters. Moreover, the agency has leveraged outsourcing possibilities where ever it makes sense for the Coast Guard. For example, the Defense Logistics Agency now manages all but unique consumable materials for the Coast Guard. Finally, the information system that can support inventory ashore nationwide was field tested and deployed in 2001 and the entire Fleet Logistics System is expected to be fully operational by 2003.

    Recommendation: To enable the Coast Guard to manage its cutter inventories more effectively between now and when the Logistics Master Plan is fully implemented, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Coast Guard Commandant to, where economically feasible, consolidate at regional support centers those cutter inventories that are located at individual onshore storage facilities, particularly where several cutters from the same class are clustered or where the cutters' individual onshore storage facilities are housed within a single building.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Engineering Logistics Center, which will merge the Coast Guard's Supply Centers at Baltimore and Curtis Bay, along with selected Coast Guard headquarters elements, into one unit and integrate the vessel maintenance guidance and supply functions, was originally scheduled for 1998. However, the Coast Guard completed this action in June 1996.

    Recommendation: To enable the Coast Guard to manage its cutter inventories more effectively between now and when the Logistics Master Plan is fully implemented, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Coast Guard Commandant to move up the implementation date for the Coast Guard's initiative to establish a single source of accountability for all fleet logistics. This action will allow the Coast Guard to better coordinate interim actions to improve management of its cutter inventories while the fleetwide logistics system is being developed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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