Air Force Maintenance Depots:

The Need for More Responsiveness to Mobilization as well as Peacetime Efficiency (Unclassified Version of a Secret Report)

LCD-78-403: Published: Nov 23, 1977. Publicly Released: Nov 23, 1977.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Air Force maintains depot repair capability to assure aircraft and equipment readiness in peacetime, to sustain this hardware in the initial surge of a contingency or war, and to provide a base for rapid expansion.

The Air Force spent about $7.7 billion in fiscal year 1976 to operate and maintain 8,450 aircraft, large numbers of missiles, and other equipment; about $2.8 billion was spent for operations and maintenance. Although the Air Force has made significant progress in measuring the depot maintenance capability to meet mobilization requirements, maintenance depots, as currently configured, cannot support requirements which the Air Force anticipates in a "surge" period for most of its weapon systems. Air Force flying hour estimates for high-surge transport aircraft exceeded the number possible under present conditions. Other factors distorting the Air Force estimate of readiness relate to: lack of a full assessment of contractor abilities, personnel to meet surge requirements, estimates for repair parts, and bottlenecks in depot production processes. Problems in industrial engineering techniques which affect depot's productivity include: failure to emphasize the analysis of job design/work methods, questionable accuracy of labor standards, and chronic problems such as lack of repair parts. Many improvements are needed to assure that in time of crises the Air Logistics Centers can perform their assigned tasks, including acquiring and training people.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Defense and the Air Force should: establish more realistic surge data for each weapon system based upon what is achievable; define what and how much contractors can support in mobilization; and evaluate people, facilities, equipment, and repair parts to achieve better alinement of resources and more timely response. The Air Force Logistics Command should be required to: increase methods work; review, update, and control labor standards; make fuller use of productivity measurement tools; and enhance efforts to motivate its people.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 13, 2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

Feb 15, 2018

Feb 6, 2018

Jan 31, 2018

Jan 18, 2018

Jan 10, 2018

Looking for more? Browse all our products here