Defense Inventory: The Department Needs a Focused Effort to Overcome Critical Spare Parts Shortages

GAO-03-707 Published: Jun 27, 2003. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2003.
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The Department of Defense's (DOD) annual appropriation totals billions of dollars for spare parts. In addition, it has received supplemental funding totaling $1.5 billion since fiscal year 1999 to increase the availability of spare parts. However, DOD continues to experience critical spare parts shortages that impact military readiness. GAO examined whether (1) DOD's logistics strategic plan addresses the mitigation of critical spare parts shortages that adversely affect readiness, (2) DOD's logistics initiatives are likely to mitigate spare parts shortages that affect readiness, and (3) DOD has the ability to identify the effect of increased investments for spare parts on readiness.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense In order to improve the department's logistics strategic plan to achieve results for overcoming spare parts shortages, improving readiness, and address the long-standing weaknesses that are limiting the overall economy and efficiency of logistics operations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to incorporate clear goals, objectives, and performance measures pertaining to mitigating spare parts shortages in the Future Logistics Enterprise or appropriate agencywide initiatives to include efforts recommended by the Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller in his August 2002 study report.
Closed – Not Implemented
DOD agreed with the intent of the recommendation, but not all the prescribed actions. In particular, DOD did not agree to add a focus on mitigating spare parts shortages that includes clear goals, objectives, and milestones to its strategic plan or department-wide initiatives. Therefore, while the DODIG has closed out the recommendation, the Department has not fully implemented it.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller to establish reporting milestones and define how it will measure progress in implementing the August 2002 Inventory Management Study recommendations related to mitigating critical spare parts shortages.
Closed – Not Implemented
According to DODIG, this recommendation is closed without implementation because, according to the Department, separate milestones are not necessary for this initiative. Furthermore, budget guidance for the fiscal year 2005 updated estimates are to include additional performance metrics that will be further refined under its balanced scorecard and other initiatives.

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