DOD's Mobility Requirements:

Alternative Assumptions Could Affect Recommended Acquisition Plan

NSIAD-93-103: Published: Apr 22, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 1993.

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Richard Davis
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Department of Defense (DOD) requirements for its sealift and airlift mobility operations, focusing on whether key assumptions in the DOD mobility requirements study were reasonable.

GAO found that: (1) DOD ability to move U.S. forces abroad is dependent upon key assumptions regarding the extent of the enemy threat and the amount of advanced warning; (2) increases in the amount of enemy threat have increased the amount of mobility forces required, while warning time assumptions have achieved a moderate-risk outcome; (3) the DOD mobility requirements study has understated U.S. sealift capabilities and is based on questionable future ship procurements; (4) the DOD sealift mobility study has failed to account for the use of foreign, commercial container, and Marine Corps prepositioning ships; (5) the DOD airlift mobility study has overstated U.S. airlift cargo capabilities and is based on unrealistic procurement, delivery schedule, and foreign air base availability assumptions; and (6) additional testing of key assumptions is needed to justify DOD mobility asset requirements.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Joint Staff is currently conducting a new, more detailed mobility study called the Mobility Requirements Study--Bottom Up Review Update. This study is said to be considering a whole new set of assumptions, including some of the ones GAO was concerned about. The study is due to be reported to Congress in late 1994. GAO has been asked by Congress to review the study's major assumptions.

    Matter: Because DOD has indicated its reluctance to perform the analyses GAO recommended in its sealift and airlift reports, Congress may wish to require DOD to perform the analyses. Such information would be useful to Congress in debating future airlift and sealift appropriations.


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