Military Airlift:

Peacetime Use of War Reserve Spares Reduces Wartime Capabilities

NSIAD-90-186: Published: Jun 25, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1990.

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GAO reviewed: (1) the Department of Defense's (DOD) use of war reserve spares to support the peacetime operations of the C-5 and C-141 long-range airlift aircraft; (2) shortcomings in DOD reporting of the status of war reserve parts to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and (3) the effects of recent changes in Eastern Europe on U.S. war reserve spare requirements.

GAO found that: (1) a 1982 policy allows the Air Force to use war reserve spares when peacetime operating stocks are not available; (2) as of July 1989, the Air Force had about 57 percent of required wartime C-5 spare parts and had about 64 percent of required wartime C-141 spare parts; (3) the number of flying hours the Air Force programmed for both aircraft frequently exceeded the number that peacetime spare parts funds could support, and the number of flying hours frequently exceeded the number of programmed hours; (4) Air Force officials believed that training and user demands affected the actual hours flown; (5) federal officials believed that recent changes in Eastern Europe should decrease wartime flying requirements, which should result in a reduction in war reserve spares requirements; and (6) such a reduction would mitigate the adverse effects of current wartime reserve spare shortages.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AFLC actions planned were taken and testing of the WSMIS module was planned during the C-141 VOLEN CAPE II Exercise during September 1990. The exercise was cancelled at the onset of Operation Desert Shield/Storm and instead MAC used actual data from home station and deployed units beginning August 8, 1990 to the present. The Air Force believes that this will provide a more realistic assessment.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to ensure that the Weapons Systems Management Information System (WSMIS) includes the availability of spares in war reserve spares kits and separately identifies the availability of the investment spares, as required by Air Force instructions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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