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Depot Maintenance: DOD's Report to Congress on Its Public-Private Partnerships at Its Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence (CITEs) Is Not Complete and Additional Information Would Be Useful

GAO-08-902R Published: Jul 01, 2008. Publicly Released: Jul 01, 2008.
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For several years, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Congress have encouraged the defense logistics support community to pursue partnerships with the private sector to combine the best commercial processes and practices with DOD's extensive maintenance capabilities. These public-private partnerships can combine the resources, risks, and rewards of public agencies and private companies and are intended to provide greater efficiency, better access to capital, and improved compliance with a range of government regulations. Although DOD has collected information on depot-level partnering arrangements for several years, DOD first issued a policy encouraging the use of public-private depot maintenance partnerships to improve the efficiency and viability of its depots in January 2002. DOD expects these improvements to depot operations to ultimately improve support for the warfighter. Public-private partnerships for depot-level maintenance are cooperative arrangements between a depot-level maintenance activity and one or more private sector entities to perform DOD or defense-related work, to utilize DOD depot facilities and equipment, or both. Pursuant to Section 2474 of Title 10, Unites States Code, the secretaries of the military departments (and the Secretary of Defense in the case of defense agencies) designated their depot-level maintenance activities (other than facilities approved for closure or major realignment under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990) as Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence (CITE) in their core competencies. Section 2474 states that the secretary concerned may authorize and encourage the head of a CITE to enter into public-private partnerships comprising of government and private sector employees to perform work related to the CITE's core competencies. The statute also permits private industry to use underutilized or unutilized facilities and equipment at the CITEs. House Conference Report 110-477 accompanying H.R. 1585 directed DOD to submit a report to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on the public-private partnerships at its CITEs that describes the following six reporting elements: (1) common approaches and procedures for DOD CITEs to use in the implementation of partnerships; (2) consistent cost methodologies and reimbursement guidance applicable to maintenance and repair workload performed by federal personnel participating in public-private partnerships; (3) implementation procedures for completing contract negotiation for partnerships within 12 months of initiating negotiations; (4) the secretary's use of commercial practices in partnerships to replace existing inventory and component management, technical publication data, document management, equipment maintenance, and calibration requirements; (5) delegation during a partnership of Class 2 design authority based on commercial practices to maintain the form, fit, and function of a weapons system platform, major end item, component of a major end item, or article; and (6) plans to expand core capabilities through the use of partnerships at DOD CITEs. To assess the completeness of DOD's report, we determined (1) whether DOD's report described each of the six reporting elements as directed by the conference report and (2) for the reporting elements that were described, whether DOD could have included additional information in its report that would have made it more useful to the committees and other interested parties.


Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
In order to provide congressional decision makers with information on the challenges of implementing public-private partnerships at CITEs and the progress in meeting its intended goals of more responsive product support, better facility utilization, reduced cost of ownership, and more efficient business processes, in addition to reiterating our former matter, Congress may wish to consider having DOD provide the committees with information on the timing and challenges in implementing these partnerships, and its ongoing and planned use of public-private partnerships to sustain elements of core capabilities, which were not directly described in DOD's April 2008 public-private partnership report to the committees.
Closed – Not Implemented
A legislative search was conducted by OGC and no statutory actions related to public/private partnerships at DOD Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence were found.

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Contract negotiationsContract oversightDefense agreementsDefense capabilitiesDefense cost controlDefense operationsDefense procurementDepartment of Defense contractorsEquipment maintenanceFacility maintenanceJoint venturesMaintenance costsMaintenance services contractsMilitary facilitiesMilitary forcesPrivate sectorPrivate sector practicesReporting requirementsStrategic planningPolicies and procedures