Air Force Contracting:

Protecting Liquid Oxygen/Nitrogen Plants From Contamination

NSIAD-88-206: Published: Aug 11, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 11, 1988.

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Nancy R. Kingsbury
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's procurement of portable liquid oxygen and nitrogen generating plants to determine its compliance with Department of Defense (DOD) policy regarding protection against nuclear, biological, and chemical attack.

GAO found that the Air Force: (1) complied with DOD policy by evaluating the plants' needs for nuclear, biological, and chemical attack protection; (2) concluded that it did not need to protect the plants, since it planned to reduce operations to minimize personnel exposure and use uncontaminated stored products if such attacks occurred; and (3) planned to keep storage tanks full and shut down or move plants if it perceived a risk of attack. GAO also found that DOD: (1) determined that protection for the plants was desirable, but not essential; and (2) directed the Air Force to buy only the units it needed to meet immediate needs and to consider protection for future procurements. GAO believes that protection for the plants would offer the Air Force an expanded capability and operational versatility in meeting its needs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force is evaluating the protection presently afforded to in-place plants. Based on the results, the Air Force will develop equipment modifications, filter additions, and subsystem design enhancements as needed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should review the current procurement of portable liquid oxygen and nitrogen generating plants to determine if it is feasible to add approved filters to the plants, which would protect them in the event of nuclear, biological, and chemical attack. If the Air Force can obtain protection at an acceptable cost, the Secretary should modify the current contract and/or delivered units to incorporate these filters.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force


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