Evaluation of an Air Force Decision To Use In-House Employees for Modification Work at the Wing I Minuteman Complex in Montana

PLRD-82-49: Published: Feb 26, 1982. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 1982.

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GAO was asked to evaluate the Air Force's decision to use civil service employees instead of contracting out for the modification of brine chillers at the Minuteman Missile Complex in light of the Executive Branch's policy of reliance on the private sector for goods and services.

GAO believes that the Air Force's decision to use in-house resources to accomplish the modification work is consistent with the policy of reliance on the private sector and with Department of Defense (DOD) and Air Force policies and procedures. A joint DOD/Office of Management and Budget policy states that it is necessary for DOD to have an in-house maintenance production base in support of mission-essential material, and the Air Force identified the Minuteman weapon system as high priority mission essential. Mission-essential material is that material assigned to combat and combat support forces which would be immediately employed to destroy the enemy or its capacity to continue war. The brine chillers, which are critical to maintaining the weapon in an alert status, are also mission essential. All work in support of the Minuteman weapon system is required to be performed with in-service personnel, except in instances when in-service skills are not and cannot be made available to perform the workload. In the case of the brine chiller modification, the weapon will remain on alert. If the work could be performed in an off-alert status, it could be performed either in-house or under a contract based on established criteria.

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