Part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet Is No Longer Needed

T-NSIAD-91-44: Published: Jul 11, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1991.

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GAO discussed the viability of the older ships in the National Defense Reserve Fleet and the Maritime Administration's (MARAD) management of them. GAO noted that: (1) such factors as technological limitations, the time needed to activate non-Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships, and the ready availability of commercial ships negated the need for non-RRF ships during a military operation in the Persian Gulf; (2) due to technological limitations, there is little need for non-RRF ships and selling such ships that are not being held for future upgrades could help to improve or expand the RRF; (3) despite the poor physical appearance of selected non-RRF ships, they could be activated if necessary; and (4) although corrective actions to remedy maintenance deficiencies were recommended by independent marine surveyors in 1983 and MARAD in 1985, MARAD did not take effective actions to correct such conditions. GAO believes that if MARAD continues to rely on non-RRF ships as viable sealift assets, it needs to: (1) ensure that ships regularly carry out proper dehumidification procedures; (2) better control shipboard spare parts; (3) develop and maintain ship condition data to justify decisions on ship activations; (4) develop written criteria and procedures for ship disposal; and (5) maintain current information on the available pool of mariners that could be drawn upon in an emergency to crew non-RRF ships.

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