Essentiality of Air Force War Reserve Items

LCD-78-421: Published: Jul 25, 1978. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 1978.

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In fiscal year 1978, the Air Force estimated its peacetime requirements for reparable, or investment-type, aircraft spare parts at $586 million and its war reserve requirement at about $1 billion. Congressional committees have continually questioned the basis for and validity of the Department of Defense's war reserve requirements for spare and repair parts. A review was conducted of 199 randomly selected aircraft spares and repair parts having a war reserve requirement as of June 30, 1977, which the Air Force planned to buy, to determine if the buy requirement was valid, the items were critical to wartime missions, items supported the more important weapons systems, and items with the greatest critical deficiencies were given funding priorities.

An erroneous requirement of more than $1 million to support a weapons system that was ineligible for that type of support was generated because invalid factors were not deleted from the requirements computation system. Between 194 and 533 of the 2,423 war reserve investment items managed by Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center had an invalid requirement. Essentiality designations were incorrect for 13 of the items sampled. The Air Force's documentation used to justify its essential spare part needs is incomplete and based on erroneous data which causes annual budget submissions to be overstated. The Air Force does not have an effective method of assigning priorities to war reserve items in terms of their importance to wartime missions. Deficiencies in investment and stock fund items occurred because: (1) data are not checked for accuracy before being used; (2) heavy work loads make checking data difficult; (3) good sources are not readily available for some data needed; (4) personnel are not thoroughly trained in system operations; and (5) policies and procedures are unclear.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should: (1) make sure that the new system can adequately establish priorities for war reserve items before funds are requested to purchase additional spares and repair parts; (2) require that the highest priority war reserve items are funded first; and (3) provide additional training and guidance to item managers on the importance of using supportable data so that war reserve requirements for spares and repair parts are not overstated and errors are immediately corrected.

    Agency Affected:


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