Air Force Logistics:

Increased Costs for Spare Parts Safety Levels Are Not Justified

NSIAD-90-148: Published: Aug 23, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Air Force's justification for and implementation of a new model for computing safety-level requirements for aircraft spare parts.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force Logistics Command's (AFLC) prediction that the new model could achieve higher aircraft availability rates at little or no increased cost did not appear to be valid, since requirements increased by about $482 million after the model's implementation; (2) the Air Force did not analyze the causes for the increased requirements or the resulting increase in procurement and repair costs; (3) the Air Force cited factors other than the model that could have contributed to the increased safety-level requirements; (4) the Air Force reported satisfaction with its ability to perform needed missions and has neither requested nor justified an increase in mission-capable rates; (5) because the Air Force has reached desired levels of mission capability, substantial savings are available if requirements are based on operational needs; (6) reprogramming the aircraft availability model at a 66-percent, rather than the 85-percent rate could reduce fiscal year 1991 safety-level requirements by about $590 million; and (7) the Air Force needs to ensure that unneeded procurements to fill requirements under the prior model are cancelled.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD detailed comments show that it has initiated actions that are generally responsive to the recommendation. DOD recognized that requirements increased substantially after the new model was implemented and that future procurement and repair costs could be reduced if availability goals were reset to prior levels. DOD will also complete an analysis that will better relate aircraft availability.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should direct the Commander, AFLC, to reevaluate the cost and benefits of using the aircraft availability model to compute safety-level requirements. The reevaluation should be completed promptly to preclude procurement and repair of potentially unjustified safety levels and should include: (1) an investigation and resolution of the increase in safety-level requirements associated with implementing the aircraft availability model; and (2) a determination of the availability rate for each aircraft that will provide minimum safety levels to achieve acceptable mission capability in the most cost-effective manner.

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


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