Army Maintenance:

Savings Possible by Stopping Unnecessary Depot Repairs

NSIAD-92-176: Published: May 5, 1992. Publicly Released: May 5, 1992.

Additional Materials:


Henry L. Hinton, Jr
(202) 512-4300


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO reviewed the Army Materiel Command's procedures for performing certain depot-level repairs, focusing on whether depots perform unnecessary repairs on weapons systems, tactical vehicles, or their major components.

GAO found that: (1) the Red River Army Depot performed unnecessary repairs when depot personnel overhauled all 6V53 engines in the secondary item program without first performing pre-shop analysis to determine exactly what was wrong with them; (2) the Red River Depot could have saved as much as $1.1 million in fiscal year 1992 if it had established a pre-shop analysis program and performed only those repairs necessary to return the engines to service; (3) the Tooele Army Depot has been performing unnecessary and costly overhauls of certain end items and secondary items even when the major subordinate command specifically designates the items for inspection and repair programs; (4) the Tooele Army Depot is routinely overhauling items that are not intended to be overhauled since it does not conduct pre-shop analysis to determine exactly what is wrong with the items; and (5) other depots visited perform both inspection and repair and overhaul programs, depending on the programs' work authorization codes, but inspection and repair programs are generally less costly to perform than overhaul programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated that before it concurs with the recommendation, a comprehensive analysis of the cost to requalify an engine versus the cost to overhaul it must be done. The Army was directed on October 14, 1992, to do this analysis. However, this issue has become moot because Red River Army Depot (RRAD) is no longer repairing the 6V53 engines under the secondary item overhaul program. As a result of a competitive bid award, the majority of the 6V53 engine workload is now repaired by the private sector manufacturer (Detroit Diesel) rather than within the organic depot system. Although RRAD still repairs engines removed from M113 vehicles submitted to the depot for maintenance, those engines are already subjected to pre-shop analysis and diagnostic testing. This recommendation is no longer valid.

    Recommendation: The Commanding General, Army Materiel Command, should direct the Commander, Tank-Automotive Command (TACOM), to allow the Red River Army Depot to perform pre-shop analysis on 6V53 engines repaired under the secondary item program to preclude unnecessary overhauls.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: U.S. Army Materiel Command

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Tooele was cited for closure by the 1993 Base Closure and Realignment Commission. It is doubtful whether, in view of this event, the agency can be expected to realistically and vigorously pursue the recommendation. Even though GAO believes that the recommendation has merit, it is not confident that any action will be taken. For these reasons, the recommendation should not remain open.

    Recommendation: The Commanding General, Army Materiel Command, should require the Commander, Tooele Army Depot, to stop performing overhauls not intended by TACOM or the Depot System Command and to comply with established guidance unless the depot can justify and factually support its assertions that overhauls are more economical to perform than inspecting and repairing items.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: U.S. Army Materiel Command


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »