With continued heavy military involvement in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense (DOD) is spending billions of dollars sustaining or replacing its inventory of key equipment items while also planning to spend billions of dollars to develop and procure new systems to transform the department's warfighting capabilities. GAO developed a red, yellow, green assessment framework to (1) assess the condition of 30 selected equipment items from across the four military services, and (2) determine the extent to which DOD has identified near- and long-term program strategies and funding plans to ensure that these items can meet defense requirements. GAO selected these items based on input from the military services, congressional committees, and our prior work. These 30 equipment items included 18 items that were first assessed in GAO's 2003 report.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To ensure that DOD can sustain key equipment items to meet future equipment requirements and to provide greater visibility over key equipment items to Congress, the Secretary of Defense, after the department completes its Quadrennial Defense Review, should, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Military Services, reassess the near- and long-term program strategies for sustaining and modernizing key equipment, particularly those items not covered by 10 U.S.C. 2437, to ensure that the plans are complete and that the items are sustainable until they reach the end of their serviceable life or a replacement system is fielded. Specifically, this reassessment should: (1) detail the strategies to sustain and modernize key equipment systems until they are retired or replaced; (2) report the costs associated with the sustainment and modernization of key equipment and identify these funds in the Future Years Defense Program; and (3) identify the risks involved in delaying or not fully funding the strategies, and the steps the department is taking to mitigate the associated risks, for those strategies that are delayed or are not fully funded.|
|Department of Defense||2. To ensure that DOD can sustain key equipment items to meet future equipment requirements and to provide greater visibility over key equipment items to Congress, the Secretary of Defense, after the department completes its Quadrennial Defense Review, should, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Military Services, provide the information in the above recommendation to Congress at the same time the department submits its annual budget request, to ensure that Congress has the visibility it needs to provide effective oversight over DOD's program strategies.|