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    Subject Term: "Military aircraft"

    7 publications with a total of 23 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Zina Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should develop a comprehensive plan for shipyard capital investment that establishes (1) the desired goal for the shipyards' condition and capabilities; (2) an estimate of the full costs to implement the plan, addressing all relevant requirements, external risk factors, and associated planning costs; and (3) metrics for assessing progress toward meeting the goal that include measuring the effectiveness of capital investments. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    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 conduct regular management reviews that include all relevant stakeholders to oversee implementation of the plan, review metrics, assess the progress made toward the goal, and make adjustments, as necessary, to ensure that the goal is attained. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    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 provide regular reporting to key decision makers and Congress on the progress the shipyards are making to meet the goal of the comprehensive plan, along with any challenges that hinder that progress, such as cost. This may include reporting on progress to reduce their facilities restoration and modernization backlogs, improve the condition and configuration of the shipyards, and recapitalize capital equipment. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: John H. Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make a well-informed decision about the future of its A-10 aircraft, before again recommending divestment of the A-10, the Secretary of the Air Force should: (1) Develop quality information that fully identifies gaps in capacity or capability that would result from A-10 divestment, including the timing and duration of any identified gaps, and the risks associated with those gaps; and (2) Use that information to develop strategies to mitigate any identified gaps.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further inform decisions about the future of the A-10, the Secretary of the Air Force should, in considering divestment, develop a high-quality, reliable cost estimate utilizing best practices.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that senior leaders have the quality information on which to base future force structure decisions, the Secretary of Defense should develop and promulgate department-wide guidance that establishes specific informational requirements to be met before proposing divestment of major weapon systems that have not reached the end of their expected service lives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To strengthen compliance with the Leahy laws and implementation of State's human rights vetting process and to help ensure that U.S. funded assistance is not provided to Egyptian security forces that have committed gross violations of human rights, as State works to implement a revised version of the International Vetting and Security Tracking system (INVEST) system that is expected to help facilitate equipment vetting, the Secretary of State should develop time frames for establishing corresponding policies and procedures to implement a vetting process to help enable the U.S. government to provide a more reasonable level of assurance that equipment is not transferred to foreign security forces, including those in Egypt, when there is credible information that a unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: State agreed with this recommendation. State acknowledged challenges identifying recipients of equipment across the range of assistance activities, but noted that it would continue to update its systems and procedures to facilitate human rights vetting for recipients of equipment. In April 2017, State reported that it had provided finalized guidance on vetting Egyptian recipients of Foreign Military Financing-funded equipment to Embassy Cairo. These procedures have been incorporated into a revised version of Embassy Cairo's guide for conducting human rights vetting. According to State, Embassy Cairo has implemented these procedures. Also, as of June 2017, State has added new features to INVEST to help facilitate vetting of equipment recipients. However, State has not yet provided information on its plans for adopting the procedures used in Egypt more broadly in other countries that also receive equipment through the Foreign Military Financing account or through other U.S. assistance programs. In addition, State has not established requirements for posts to use the new equipment vetting features in INVEST. We will continue to monitor agency efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help DOD develop an affordable sustainment strategy for the F-35, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics to direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to establish affordability constraints linked to, and informed by, military service budgets that will help guide sustainment decisions, prioritize requirements, and identify additional areas for savings by March 2015, at which point the Future Support Construct decision will be approved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and stated in April 2017 that the F-35 Program Executive Officer and the F-35 enterprise have expanded their collaborative effort to reduce F-35 operating and support (O&S) costs to ensure that they deliver affordable readiness for the F-35 fleet. In an effort to reduce overall O&S costs, the department has undertaken several initiatives. For example, according to DOD, as of January 2017, a program office "cost war room" initiative had reduced the 2012 F-35 annual cost estimate by $60.7 billion. Additionally, according to DOD, a Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program has resulted in a $1.7 billion O&S cost avoidance through the program's life cycle. Other efforts are also under way that aim to help reduce O&S costs by better informing sustainment decision-making. While the department is taking steps to try to reduce overall O&S costs, the program has yet to develop affordability constraints linked to the military services' budgets. Without affordability constraints that are linked to military service budgets, it remains unclear the extent to which the military services can afford to operate and sustain the F-35 throughout its life cycle as currently planned.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to enable DOD to better identify, address, and mitigate performance issues with the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) that could have an effect on affordability, as well as readiness, to establish a performance-measurement process for ALIS that includes, but is not limited to, performance metrics and targets that (1) are based on intended behavior of the system in actual operations and (2) tie system performance to user requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the ALIS Integrated Product Team (IPT) is continuing to work with the Joint Program Office's Performance Based Logistics (PBL) team to further develop and refine appropriate metrics for inclusion into future sustainment contracts. Although DOD has made progress in developing performance metrics for ALIS, as of September 2017, DOD has yet to develop metrics that are based on intended behavior of the system and tie system performance to user requirements. Until this progression is made, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to develop a high level of confidence that the aircraft will achieve its R+M goals, to develop a software reliability and maintainability (R+M) assessment process, with metrics, by which the program can monitor and determine the effect that software issues may have on overall F-35 R+M issues.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has an R&M assessment process in place, but as of September 2017, had not developed a process that would focus directly on software reliability and maintainability. Until DOD develops a process more focused on software and its effects on overall R&M issues, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to promote competition, address affordability, and inform its overarching sustainment strategy, to develop a long-term Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy to include, but not be limited to, the identification of (1) current levels of technical data rights ownership by the federal government and (2) all critical technical data needs and their associated costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has still not developed an overall strategy that would identify data rights ownership, needs, and costs. As of September 2017, the program had taken some steps to develop an Intellectual Property Strategy, but has not identified all critical needs and their associated costs. Program office officials said that they are currently working with the prime contractor to develop a list of technical data requirements. Until this strategy is developed, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to understand the potential range of costs associated with the JPO F-35 O&S cost estimate, to conduct uncertainty analyses on future JPO estimates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD had not applied risk/uncertainty analyses to its cost estimates. Until it does so, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the CAPE F-35 O&S cost estimate, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of CAPE, for future F-35 O&S cost estimates, to conduct uncertainty analyses to understand the potential range of costs associated with its estimates to reflect the most likely costs associated with the program.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) has not updated its F-35 estimate subsequent to the release of GAO-14-778. Pending a major program change, CAPE will update the F-35 O&S estimate for the full-rate production decision point in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. Until CAPE updates its F-35 estimate, we will not be able to determine if they will perform any uncertainty analyses on its cost estimate; therefore, this recommendation will remain open as of September 1, 2017.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to update crew ratios for RPA units to help ensure that the Air Force establishes a more-accurate understanding of the required number of RPA pilots needed in its units.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2015, Air Force officials stated that, in February 2015, the Air Force completed the first phase of a three-phase personnel requirements study designed to update the UAS unit crew ratio, which is a measure the Air Force uses to determine the personnel needs for Air Force aviation units. The Air Force expects to report results of this study by spring 2016, but Air Force officials stated that the preliminary results of the study indicate that the Air Force may be able to update UAS unit crew ratios and increase the required number of pilots in UAS units. Air Force officials stated that Air Force leadership is reviewing the results of the first phase of the study, but that they expect the Air Force to update the UAS unit crew ratio by summer 2015.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish a minimum crew ratio in Air Force policy below which RPA units cannot operate without running unacceptable levels of risk to accomplishing the mission and ensuring safety.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2014, the Air Force reported that the three-phase personnel requirements study would also address our recommendation to establish a minimum crew ratio for UAS units. The Air Force discusses the components of a minimum crew ratio in the Air Combat Command's (ACC) Steady State Concept of Operations, which the Air Force published prior to our 2014 review. However, this minimum crew ratio is not in Air Force policy and Air Force officials stated that the Air Force is not enforcing this minimum crew ratio due to shortages of Air Force UAS pilots. In a December 2014 memo to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the ACC?s commanding general also made this point when he stated that Air Force units are staffed below the minimum crew ratio. As of May 2015, the Air Force had not established a minimum crew ratio in Air Force policy since our review.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to develop a recruiting and retention strategy that is a tailored to the specific needs and challenges of RPA pilots to help ensure that the Air Force can meet and retain required staffing levels to meet its mission.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Previously, Air Force cadets who were preparing to join the Air Force and applying for undergraduate flying training volunteered for any of the four careers, including the manned-aircraft pilot career, the UAS pilot career, or two other aviation-related careers. According to Air Force officials, nearly all of the cadets applied for the manned-aircraft pilot career and few applied for any of the other careers. In fiscal year 2014, the Air Force began requiring these cadets to volunteer to serve in any of the four careers. This new process allows the Air Force to assign these cadets to any of the four careers based on a number of factors including the cadet?s performance and Air Force needs. An Air Force headquarters official confirmed that in fiscal year 2014, the Air Force met 123 of their 129 UAS pilot accessions goal, or the Air Force?s goal for the number of cadets who graduate from Air Force officer schools and agree to serve as UAS pilots. Regarding retention of UAS pilots, in January 2015, the Air Force increased the Assignment Incentive Pay for UAS pilots who are reaching the end of their 6 year service commitment to $1500/month. An Air Force official stated that this increase currently applies to 4 pilots. However, the Air Force does not have a recruiting and retention strategy that is tailored to UAS pilots. Air Force senior leadership and headquarters officials stated that the Air Force is in the process of developing other strategies to recruit and retain UAS pilots.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to evaluate the viability of using alternative personnel populations including enlisted or civilian personnel as RPA pilots to identify whether such populations could help the Air Force meet and sustain required RPA pilot staffing levels.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2014, we reported that Headquarters Air Force officials stated that they have, at times, considered the use of enlisted or civilian personnel but have not initiated formal efforts to evaluate whether using such populations would negatively affect the ability of the Air Force to carry out its missions. Air Force officials stated that in fall 2014, the Air Force Chief of Staff requested that headquarters staff evaluate the potential of using enlisted personnel as UAS pilots. As of March 2015, Air Force officials were not able to provide any details about the assessment they were conducting but confirmed plans to report to the Air Force Chief of Staff by spring 2015.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to incorporate feedback from RPA pilots by using existing mechanisms or by collecting direct feedback from RPA pilots.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to a DODIG request for information about this recommendation, the Air Force reported that it uses standardized feedback mechanisms across all units through the Air Force Unit Climate Assessment and other similar surveys. It also reported that "consideration should be given to assess whether this is appropriate to collect feedback from RPA pilots and at the appropriate levels desired and, if so, the Air Force will analyze and incorporate feedback from a validated survey and feedback process." However, as of July 2015, the Air Force has not incorporated feedback from RPA pilots by using existing mechanisms or by collecting direct feedback from RPA pilots.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to analyze the effects of being deployed-on-station to determine whether there are resulting negative effects on the quality of life of RPA pilots and take responsive actions as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to a DODIG request for information about this recommendation, the Air Force reported that it has ample data showing the effects of RPA pilots being deployed-on-station over the last nine years. It went on to report that it had identified the stressors related to being deployed-on-stations and that these stressors likely could be addressed with personnel solutions to increase the number of personnel in RPA units. DODIG considers this recommendation to be closed. However, as of July 2015, the Air Force has not fully analyzed whether being deployed-on-station has negative effects on quality of life that are not attributable to the stressors that are related to low unit-staffing levels that we discussed above such as rotating shifts and long assignments.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to include the career field effect of being an RPA pilot into the Air Force Personnel Center's (AFPC) analysis to determine whether and how being an RPA pilot is related to promotions and determine whether the factors AFPC identified in its analysis of Line of the Air Force officers are also related to RPA pilot promotions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to a DODIG request for information about this recommendation, the Air Force reported that it continued to track and analyze the promotion rates of RPA pilots and that the RPA career field is a subsection of the Line of the Air Force. The Air Force stated that, therefore, factors related to promotions identified in analysis is of the Line of the Air Force are directly related to RPA pilot promotions. Unfortunately, as of July 2015, AFPC has not included the career field effect of being an RPA pilot into its analysis of the factors that are related to promotions to determine whether and how being an RPA pilot is related to promotions. In addition, the Air Force may not take further action because DODIG closed this recommendation according to a DODIG recommendation follow up report dated July 2015.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal agencies fully reimburse DOD for special air missions when required to do so, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer to revise guidance and require that DOD organizations develop and implement a process that identifies and tracks each special air mission, such as tracking by mission number or another unique identifier, from billing through reimbursement for all applicable costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2014, DOD does not have any information on actions taken on this recommendation. As of July 2015, the Department plans to address this recommendation during the next policy rewrite cycle. In the short term, the Special Air Missions office in coordination with OSD Executive Secretary has stressed with external agencies requesting reimbursable travel include the mission number as well as a line of accounting on their travel request memorandum. The Financial Management office at Joint Base Andrews as well as DFAS have also revamped their procedures and are tracking each reimbursable mission by a unique five digit mission number. According to a senior officer at the Special Air Missions Office, they continue to process the monthly bills in the same manner as before the audit and provide the 89th Airlift Wing/Financial Management with a monthly accounting by mission number for the various missions flown. The mission number along with the cost of the reimbursable travel is provided by CVAM to the Financial Management office at Joint Base Andrews. According to an officer in the 89th Airlift Wing Comptroller at Joint Base Andrews, they are still waiting for a policy re-write from DoD for special air missions. In the meantime, they track each mission by mission number from billing through the reimbursement process, and process the bills for reimbursement on a monthly basis after receiving the consolidated list from CVAM. There have been a couple of glitches with a few users that did not send funding before traveling and the comptroller is working to resolve that issue.
    Director: Fennell, Anne-marie Lasowski
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help the agencies enhance their abilities to identify their firefighting aircraft needs and better ensure they obtain aircraft that meet those needs, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services, respectively, to, subsequent to the completion of the first two recommendations, update the agencies' strategy documents for providing a national firefighting aircraft fleet to include analysis based on information on aircraft performance and effectiveness and to reflect input from stakeholders throughout the fire aviation community.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Forest Service and Interior officials, the National Interagency Aviation Committee, which includes members from both agencies, has drafted an Aviation Strategy and has solicited feedback from interagency stakeholders. The committee plans to present the strategy for senior level review in October 2017. The Forest Service additionally reports that it has begun developing its own aviation strategy for 2019-2023, and expects to certify it by September, 2018. The Forest Service strategy will be linked to the Interagency Aviation Strategy.
    Recommendation: To help the agencies enhance their abilities to identify their firefighting aircraft needs and better ensure they obtain aircraft that meet those needs, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services, respectively, to, subsequent to the completion of the first two recommendations, update the agencies' strategy documents for providing a national firefighting aircraft fleet to include analysis based on information on aircraft performance and effectiveness and to reflect input from stakeholders throughout the fire aviation community.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Forest Service and Interior officials, the National Interagency Aviation Committee, which includes members from both agencies, has drafted an Aviation Strategy and has solicited feedback from interagency stakeholders. The committee plans to present the strategy for senior level review in October 2017.