Improved Management of Maintenance Manuals Needed in DOD

LCD-79-105: Published: Jul 10, 1979. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1979.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) spends over $20 billion annually to maintain systems and equipment, and it also spends hundreds of millions of dollars to procure, distribute, and update maintenance manuals. The manuals, sometimes called technical orders, generally include books and microforms, such as microfilm and microfiche. DOD has allowed each of the services to manage its own programs and design and develop independently its own systems for issuing and updating its manuals.

Maintenance manuals frequently are not easy to use and are not current or accurate. These deficiencies prevent maintenance personnel from doing the most efficient job and could affect the safety of equipment, systems, and personnel. The problems have existed for many years and are increasing because the complexities of new weapons systems have caused substantial increases in the data needed for maintenance. The increase in the size of the manuals has caused a corresponding increase in the cost of issuing and revising them. Unlike the commercial airlines, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have been unable to fully correct maintenance manual deficiencies through use of microfilm. The Army, Navy, and Air Force all have significant improvement efforts underway with similar features or objectives, thus setting the scene for continued duplication in their maintenance manual programs. This decentralized concept has already resulted in a proliferation of complex and costly maintenance manual systems and duplication of effort.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should assign responsibility for the management of all maintenance manual programs to one office at the DOD level. That office should have the authority to provide overall program policy and guidance to minimize duplication of efforts and direct research, development, testing, and evaluation efforts to change or improve technical manual programs. As a prerequisite to placing overall responsibility in one office, however, a central manager should be established in each of the military services, similar to the Army's central manager, with management responsibility over all manuals within each service.

    Agency Affected:


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