Naval Aviation:

The Flying Hour Program's Budget and Execution

NSIAD-89-108: Published: Jul 7, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's management of its flying hour program, focusing on: (1) how the Navy determined its flying hour requirements; (2) budget execution trends; and (3) whether the Navy's flying matched its budget request justification.

GAO found that the Navy: (1) based the formulas it used to estimate its flying hour requirements on standards that it had not objectively tested or validated; (2) had sufficient management controls to ensure that its flying hours and expenditures did not exceed its allocations; (3) did not link its requirements determinations and resource expenditures to any measure of program achievement, and lacked mission-related performance objectives describing expected program achievements; (4) could reallocate its resources among various aircraft to meet unforeseen emergencies, although program execution generally paralleled budget requests; (5) did not identify reasons for wide variances among individual aircraft use and funding, or evaluate the variances' effects on program and mission operations; (6) spent at least 90 percent of its fiscal years 1983 to 1987 budget requests, with flying hours ranging from 2 million to 2.2 million and representing at least 94 percent of the hours requested in its budget; and (7) and the Department of Defense have undertaken several studies in response to congressional direction that its budget justifications include measurable mission-related goals, the resources needed to meet each goal, a method for measuring the degree to which goals are met, and an explanation of the variances between goals and actual results.

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