Operation Desert Storm:

The Services' Efforts to Provide Logistics Support for Selected Weapon Systems

NSIAD-91-321: Published: Sep 26, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the mission capability rates of selected Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps air and ground weapon systems deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Storm, focusing on: (1) whether those rates were achieved at the expense of non-deployed forces; (2) what logistics actions the services took to ensure high mission capability rates for the deployed systems; (3) whether the services had anticipated sustainability problems; and (4) whether the services planned for or anticipated the types of problems that arose in a desert environment.

GAO found that: (1) the services were able to maintain high operational capability rates for the systems deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm; and (2) although during the initial stages of the deployment, the mission capability rates for some of the non-deployed systems declined, eventually the mission capability rates of the non-deployed systems increased to a level comparable to that attained prior to Desert Storm. In addition, GAO found that logistics initiatives undertaken included: (1) expediting the delivery of critical parts to the theater; (2) expediting deliveries under existing contracts and expediting contract awards; (3) reducing production lead time, (4) increasing and expanding depot repair programs; (5) increasing visibility of and expediting requisitions for spare and repair parts; (6) transferring end items of equipment and parts from other theaters; and (7) establishing in-theater stocks of spare and repair parts. GAO also found that: (1) sustainability of deployed weapon systems in a protracted conflict could be the weakest link in the logistics chain; (2) Army officials have identified shortages of spare and repair parts as a major impediment to sustained combat operations, but the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force did not anticipate any systematic problems of logistics sustainability, because they had sufficient stocks of spare and repair parts in inventory and sufficient deployed repair capability; (3) the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force experienced problems operating aircraft in a desert environment due to heat, high humidity and blowing sand; and (4) the services were aware of such problems for as long as 8 years.

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