Chemical Warfare:

Planning for Protective Chemical Shelters Needs To Be Improved

NSIAD-87-61: Published: Feb 13, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Air Force plans to acquire chemical protection shelters at overseas locations to: (1) evaluate the Air Force's requirements and planning, particularly for long-term rest and relief; and (2) determine if the Air Force could reduce overall costs.

GAO found that, when the Air Force was installing the first survivable collective protection systems (SCPS), it: (1) was still in the process of identifying the necessary support items and establishing the policies and requirements for its operations; (2) had not determined what equipment and supplies were necessary to operate SCPS after construction; (3) had not identified training and personnel requirements for peacetime and wartime maintenance operations; (4) had established requirements for over 1,400 SCPS in Europe, but its calculations did not include mobile units that could use transportable chemical shelters rather than SCPS; (5) overstated its long-term requirements at three missile bases; and (6) did not know the total SCPS program cost.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force decided to reduce the number of SCPS by 150 and will review the requirements on an annual basis. It has not yet developed a plan for managing, operating, and maintaining SCPS, but has issued interim technical guidance. A final plan was distributed for coordination and publication is expected in fiscal year 1989.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should reevaluate SCPS and mobile units requirements based on specific base and unit information and ensure that the plan for managing, operating, and maintaining SCPS is finalized.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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