DOD's Industrial Preparedness Program Needs National Policy To Effectively Meet Emergency Needs

PLRD-81-22: Published: May 27, 1981. Publicly Released: May 27, 1981.

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The Industrial Preparedness Planning Program of the Department of Defense (DOD) was developed to ensure that sufficient industrial capacity exists to meet potential wartime needs for defense systems, equipment, and component parts.

Many organizations, including GAO, have found the program to be ineffective. DOD has reevaluated the program, but no significant improvement has resulted to date. DOD guidance has emphasized programs designed to enhance initial combat capability. Because the program does not significantly contribute to initial combat capability, a low priority has been given to the program. Failure to plan adequately with industry may mean that the ability of the United States to engage in prolonged combat would be jeopardized because no other program exists to bridge the gap between initial combat capability and a lengthy involvement. Two essential elements of the DOD program, item selection and requirements determination, are handled differently by each service and are often not handled well. Industry's participation in the DOD planning program has been voluntary and unfunded for many years. Planning information received from industry sources is incomplete and unreliable. Many industry sources do not identify production enhancement measures as part of their planning because they are not reimbursed for the costs of developing this information. In some cases, planners have discouraged contractors from identifying enhancement measures because of personnel constraints and lack of funds. Lack of management attention to the program may be resulting in lost opportunities to reduce war reserve stockage requirements.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On July 21, 1981 the Subcommittee House Appropriations, held hearings regarding the defense industrial base. Although issues regarding the DOD industrial mobilization production planning program are raised during the annual DOD appropriation process, actions are not being taken by DOD or Congress to establish a national policy.

    Matter: Congress, in coordination with the executive branch, should establish a clearly defined and comprehensive national policy regarding industrial preparedness. Hearings should be held to develop this policy. This policy should encompass both the preparedness expectations for the industrial base, as well as what the United States is willing to invest to achieve it.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should: (1) clearly define the circumstances that the industrial base is expected to be responsive to and the role it will play in each; (2) clearly define the priority and funding availability industrial preparedness planning will have in relation to other DOD and service programs; (3) ensure that service industrial preparedness planning efforts are interfaced with other related defense programs to assure continuity of support over the planned period; and (4) ensure that service planning efforts are scaled to what can realistically be accomplished within assigned priority and available funds considering either substantially limiting the number of individual items planned or limiting indepth planning to a few vital items while using studies of key industrial sectors to identify potential mobilization problems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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