DOD Competitive Sourcing:

Potential Impact on Emergency Response Operations at Chemical Storage Facilities Is Minimal

NSIAD-00-88: Published: Mar 28, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 2000.

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Barry W. Holman
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Army's competitive sourcing studies, focusing on the: (1) Army's plans for competitive sourcing studies at five chemical munitions facilities and the extent to which emergency response or chemical defense industrial positions are included in the competitive sourcing studies; and (2) status of the Army's assessment and GAO's assessment of how competitive sourcing would impact emergency response capabilities and environmental permits associated with the destruction of the chemical agents and munitions.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army has competitive sourcing studies underway at five of the eight facilities where chemical munitions are stored, but only a relatively small number of the activities being studied at these locations include emergency response duties; (2) these studies focus principally on base operations support functions such as facilities maintenance, supply, and information management; (3) the Army had plans to study activities involving manufacturing positions at only one of these facilities, Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas, but cancelled those plans in November 1999; (4) the Army has not completed its assessment of how the transition from the current organizational structure to either a most efficient government organization or contractor workforce would affect emergency response capabilities; (5) however, GAO's analysis indicates that there should be minimal potential for a degradation of emergency response capabilities because of the small number and types of positions with emergency response duties potentially affected; (6) the Army should be able to mitigate any degradation of emergency capability by requiring that transition plans provide for adequate training and phasing in of any replacement personnel who will be performing emergency response duties; and (7) Army officials believe that the scope of the competitive sourcing studies should not affect environmental permits as long as the Army maintains its emergency response capabilities.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 requires the Secretary of the Army to certify to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the Army's plan for the conversion of emergency response functions is consistent with GAO's recommendation, and ensures as adequate transfer of relevant knowledge and expertise regarding chemical weapon emergency response to contractor personnel.

    Recommendation: To ensure that adequate emergency response capabilities are maintained when competitive sourcing studies are being conducted at installations that store chemical munitions, the Secretary of Defense should require that the Army's transition plans contain a strategy for training personnel to fill emergency response positions affected by those studies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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