Defense Maintenance:

Sustaining Readiness Support Capabilities Requires a Comprehensive Plan

GAO-01-533T: Published: Mar 23, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 2001.

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David R. Warren
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In addition to the end of the Cold War and the resulting military force structure downsizing, three events have shaped the depot maintenance environment. First, the base realignment and closure process has reduced DOD's Cold War era infrastructure from 38 military depots to 19. Second, as recommended in various studies, DOD has increasingly relied on defense contractors for depot maintenance and related logistics activities. Third, depot maintenance personnel have been cut by 59 percent, the third highest percent of any category of DOD personnel. DOD has not effectively managed the restructuring of its depot maintenance and related programs. In its earlier and ongoing reviews of defense maintenance and related logistics issues, GAO has identified several management weaknesses in the areas of policy, planning, recapitalization, human capital issues, financial management, performance of maintenance programs, and meeting legislative requirements. As GAO's recent performance accountability report on defense issues notes, logistics activities represent a key management challenge. Maintenance is an important part of those activities, and DOD is at a critical point with respect to the future of its maintenance programs that is linked to its overall logistics strategic plan.

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