Several Factors Limited the Production and Installation of Army Truck Armor during Current Wartime Operations
GAO-06-160: Published: Mar 22, 2006. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 2006.
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In April 2005, GAO reported on factors affecting the timely production of up-armored high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV) and add-on armor kits for HMMWVs, as well as other items critically needed by deployed forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Due to high interest by Congress and the public regarding vehicle armor, GAO initiated this subsequent engagement to examine issues affecting the production and installation of armor for medium and heavy trucks. The objectives were to (1) determine the extent to which truck armor was produced and installed to meet identified requirements, (2) identify what factors affected the time to provide truck armor, and (3) identify what actions the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Army have taken to improve the timely availability of truck armor. To address these objectives, GAO collected and analyzed supply data for medium and heavy tactical trucks used by Army forces.
The Army expects to have met its current requirements for the production and installation of truck armor by the end of January 2006 except for fuel tankers. Completion of armor kit installation for tankers is expected by January 2007. Although the Army first identified a requirement for 3,780 truck armor kits for five types of trucks in November 2003, it did not produce all of the kits until February 2005 and did not install the kits to fully meet the requirement until May 2005--18 months after the initial requirement was identified. However, by that time, requirements had increased substantially. As subsequent requirements for an additional 7,847 kits, excluding tankers, were identified, the time lag to meet them lessened. A number of factors contributed to the time to provide truck armor kits to deployed troops, placing them at greater risk as they conducted wartime operations in vehicles not equipped with the preferred level of protection. For example, the Army missed a valuable opportunity to have substantial numbers of truck armor kits available for Operation Iraqi Freedom by not fully capitalizing on approved operational requirements established in 1996. In addition, production time lengthened because contracts were awarded for amounts less than total requirements due to increasing needs for truck armor and inadequate funding. As was the case for other critical wartime shortages that GAO previously examined, sufficient documentation was lacking to determine why funding was not available when needed, limiting effective oversight over funding decisions. Material shortages and limited tanker kit installation rates also impacted the availability of truck armor. DOD and the Army have taken a number of short-term actions, such as leveraging available funding, to improve truck armor availability during current operations. The Army is also developing a long-term armoring plan to improve the availability of truck armor for future operations.
Recommendation for Executive Action
Status: Closed - Not Implemented
Comments: In commenting on our draft report, DOD stated it believes the Army Requirements and Resourcing Board (AR2B) process, previously the ASPB process discussed in the report, conforms to the process that GAO prescribed in the recommendation. Consequently, no further actions to address the recommendation are planned by DOD at this time. However, as we stated in our response to DOD's comments in the report, we do not believe the ASPB process fully addresses the recommendation because the ASPB is not involved in the process to request and obtain funding once requirements are validated. As stated in our report, we continue to believe these events in the funding process for urgent wartime requirements must be fully documented to provide effective program oversight and to ensure funding decisions are made based on risk and an assessment of the highest priority requirements. We will continue to monitor DOD's management of its urgent wartime needs requirements process as part of our future planned work, and the the extent to which DOD's urgent wartime requirements are supported based on risk and an assessment of the highest priority requirements.
Recommendation: To ensure funding needs for urgent wartime requirements are identified quickly, requests for funding are well documented, and funding decisions are based on risk and an assessment of the highest priority requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to establish a process to document and communicate all urgent wartime funding requirements for supplies and equipment at the time they are identified and the disposition of funding decisions.
Agency Affected: Department of Defense